Raccoons, possums and more

From our research last year we discovered that the newly invasive Asian longhorned tick feeds on deer but not on mice. We aim  to determine if it feeds on medium-sized mammals (raccoons, opossums, skunks, etc.) that could infect them.

Project lead: Danielle Tufts, PhD, Postdoctoral Associate

Longhorned ticks have recently invaded the United States and there is concern they may be able to transmit pathogens to humans they carry from their homeland in Asia or acquire new ones from our native animals.  We aim to determine if the newly invasive Asian longhorned tick feeds on medium-sized mammals (raccoons, opossums, skunks, woodchucks, rabbits, etc.). From our research last year we discovered that this tick species feeds on deer but not on small mammals (such as mice, chipmunks, or short-tailed shrews), which are the one carrying most human pathogens such as those causing Lyme disease.  These findings will help us understand the what pathogens may be carried by the longhorned tick and will direct future projects.