Ticks in Tennessee

Which Types of Ticks Live in Tennessee?

There are six key species of ticks that live in various parts of our state. Click on the name of each tick below to see its scientific name, where it is mainly distributed in the U.S., which diseases it transmits in Tennessee, and other relevant notes. For more information on the different species of ticks, see the CDC's Tick ID web page.

Scientific name: Dermacentor variabilis

Distributed: East of the Rocky Mountains and on parts of the Pacific Coast

Transmits: Tularemia and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

Comments: Highest risk of being bitten occurs in spring and summer

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American dog tick

Scientific name: Ixodes scapularis

Distributed: Eastern U.S.

Transmits: Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, babesiosis, Powassan virus

Comments: May bite humans any time of year that temperatures are above freezing

Black legged tick distribution
Black-legged tick

Scientific name: Amblyomma maculatum

Distributed: Southeastern and mid-Atlantic states

Transmits: Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

Comments: Mostly feed on birds, small rodents, deer, and other wildlife

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Gulf coast tick

Scientific name: Haemaphysalis longicornis

Distributed: Eastern United States; recently found in Eastern TN

Transmits: Nothing that affects humans in the U.S.

Comments: Invasive species that can reproduce quickly and cause infestations

Asian long-horned tick

Scientific name: Rhipicephalus sanguineus

Distributed: Worldwide

Transmits: Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

Comments: Primarily bites dogs, but can also bite humans or other mammals

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Brown dog tick

Scientific name: Amblyomma americanum

Distributed: Eastern and more commonly southeastern U.S.

Transmits: Ehrlichiosis, tularemia, Heartland virus, STARI, Alpha-gal Syndrome

Comments: Very aggressive tick distinguishable by a white dot on the backs of adult females

Lone star tick distribution
Lone star tick

Where are These Ticks Located in Tennessee?

Generally, all of these tick species inhabit the same types of environments within our state. They are commonly found in wooded, brushy areas such as forests, and they can even be found in grassy fields or yards. In order to prevent getting bitten (and potentially contracting a tick-borne disease), always take the proper precautions when spending time outdoors in Tennessee.

The following map provides a general idea of where Ixodes ticks have and can be found throughout the state.

Map of Reported and Established Ixodes Ticks, 2018-2019

Map of Reported and Established Ixodes Ticks, Tennessee 2018-2019