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Brief Summary

The genus Amblyomma includes nearly 150 described species of hard ticks (Barker and Murrell 2004; G.V. Kolonin 2009, Fauna of Ixodid Ticks of the World online). These ticks have long mouthparts and are often beautifully colored. Among the human diseases for which various Amblyomma ticks are known to serve as vectors are tularemia, ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF), and boutonneuse fever. The Gulf Coast Tick (Amblyomma maculatum) has been implicated as a vector for Rickettsia parkeri, a member of the spotted fever group rickettsiae, infecting humans in the United States (Sumner et al. 2007). Some species are serious pests of domestic animals as well (Merck Veterinary Manual online), such as the African cattle-infesting A. variegatum (also introduced to the Caribbean) and A. hebraeum (Jongejan and Uilenberg 2004). Various Amblyomma ticks may parasitize reptiles, ground-feeding birds, and mammals as either immatures or adults. The genus has a largely tropical and subtropical distribution. In recent years, the Lone Star Tick (Amblyomma americanum) has expanded its range northward deep into the United States. This tick transmits Ehrlichia chafeensis, the cause of human monocytic erlichiosis, but is not known to transmit Lyme disease, the most prevalent tick-borne disease in its range. Amblyomma ticks have a 3-host life cycle.

(Centers for Disease Control Parasites and Health website)

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