Blacklegged ticks (a.k.a Deer ticks) take 2 years to complete their life cycle and are found predominately in deciduous forest. Their distribution relies greatly on the distribution of its reproductive host, white-tailed deer. Both nymph and adult stages transmit diseases such as Lyme disease, Babesiosis, and Anaplasmosis.
American Dog ticks are found predominantly in areas with little or no tree cover, such as grassy fields and scrubland, as well as along walkways and trails. They feed on a variety of hosts, ranging in size from mice to deer, and nymphs and adults can transmit diseases such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Tularemia. American dog ticks can survive for up to 2 years at any given stage if no host is found. Females can be identified by their large off-white scutum against a dark brown body.
Lone Star ticks are found mostly in woodlands with dense undergrowth and around animal resting areas. The larvae do not carry disease, but the nymphal and adult stages can transmit the pathogens causing Monocytic Ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and 'Stari' borreliosis. Lone Star ticks are notorious pests, and all stages are aggressive human biters.
Brown Dog Ticks have a world-wide distribution, and can be found throughout the United States, although they are encountered more frequently in the southern tier of states. All life stages of this tick can transmit Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever rickettsia (Rickettsia rickettsia) to dogs, and rarely to humans. Both nymphal and adult stages can transmit the agents of canine ehrlichiosis (Ehrlichia canis) and canine babesiosis (Babesia canis vogeli and Babesia gibsoni-like) to dogs.
Rocky Mountain Wood ticks are found predominantly in shrublands, lightly wooded areas, open grasslands, and along trails, mainly at lower elevations. All life stages of this tick can transmit Colorado tick fever virus (CTFV) to humans, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) rickettsia (Rickettsia rickettsii) to humans, cats, and dogs. Rocky Mountain wood tick saliva contains a neurotoxin that can occasionally cause tick paralysis in humans and pets; usually a bite from an adult female induces an ascending paralysis that dissipates within 24-72 hrs after tick removal.