NY Ticks and What Body Areas They Prefer to Bite

Charles Hart, et al., published “Human attachment site preferences NY Ticksof ticks parasitizing in New York” in Scientific Reports on December 3, 2022. By coordinating tick submissions from the community regarding bite-site location prior to pathogen testing, the researchers were able to gather sufficient data to better understand life stage-specific body-segment preferences of primary human-biting tick species in the region.

The paper states that human body regions where tick bites occur varies based on the type and life stage of the tick, as well as the clothing worn by the host. Ixodes scapularisAmblyomma americanum, and Dermacentor variabilis were the species included in the study. The data showed D. variabilis preferred biting the head and neck while A. americanum preferred the thighs, groin, and abdomen. Ixodes scapularis was observed across the body, though the species showed substantial differences depending on life stage with adults favoring the head, midsection, and groin, and nymphs/larvae going for the extremities. Additionally, it was found that I. scapularis ticks infected with B. burgdorferi preferred to bite the central trunk versus the limbs.

This information helps to inform the public about the bodily regions that should be checked for tick bites and could potentially reduce the transmission of tick-borne pathogens to humans by providing guidance on biting locations of ticks based on species. Additionally, it is possible that this knowledge could help to accelerate tick removal and potentially prevent the introduction of pathogens as well as facilitate the testing of ticks for diagnostic purposes.


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For more information:

Read the study on the Scientific Reports website.

Click here to download supplementary information regarding the study.

Read more about tick testing and identification.

Read more about different tick species.