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These adult female "deer" ticks were no doubt hoping that I would provide their third bloodmeal before they overwinter. Sadly for them, they did not succeed. They had black heads and dorsal shields, and dark red abdomens. The adults have 8 legs.
These ticks found me in a deciduous forest with lots of leaf litter and low vegetation. I spotted 2 adult females and 1 adult male (no photo of the male because he fell off my hand before I could snap a photo and then he was lost in the leaves.
The lifecycle of blacklegged ticks generally lasts two years. During this time, they go through four life stages: egg, six-legged larva, eight-legged nymph, and eight-legged adult. Ixodes scapularis is a three-host tick, which means that it must have one bloodmeal during each life stage (larva, nymph, adult) in order to survive. Ixodes scapularis is the main vector of Lyme disease in North America. It can also transmit other diseases such as Babesiosis, Powassan, and Anaplasmosis.