June 03, 2019

Moose enjoy a winter tick-free summer!

The summer months are a 'winter tick-free' period for moose and other host animals. Depending on where they live, they could in theory pick up other species of ticks on the look out for a host right now, but moose are now free of the burden of winter ticks!

Winter ticks will now exist solely as tiny eggs on the ground, waiting to hatch in a few months time. The next generation will start to look for a host (begin "questing") in mid-September.

So for now, it's a good time to be a moose!

Posted on June 03, 2019 18:30 by emilychenery emilychenery | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 18, 2019

April & May: a peak time for moose - winter tick hair loss

Let us know if you see any moose with patchy hair!

Winter tick infested moose look their 'patchiest' throughout April and May. This is when the ticks that have been attached to them all winter have finished feeding on their blood and are now dropping to the ground.

There are 5 categories of hair loss, ranging from 1 = no hair loss, through to 5 = very severe (ghost moose). You don't have to be able to label the hair loss class to submit an observation, these categories are to help anyone identify when a 'patchy moose' might be a 'ticky moose'.

Similarly, please do share observations of winter ticks on the ground! These are likely to be adult female ticks, getting ready to lay their eggs, and are grey and shiny, roughly the size of a large grape.

image credit: David Legros 2018, via iNaturalist

Submitting a photo to Winter Tick Observation Network project on iNaturalist is the easiest way to record these observations
--> just upload directly to our project here, or tag 'winter tick'.

Posted on April 18, 2019 13:23 by emilychenery emilychenery | 0 comments | Leave a comment

January 26, 2019

Winter Tick Observation Network on iNaturalist

Welcome to our new iNaturalist page!

The Winter Tick Observation Network project collates all winter tick related iNaturalist observations across North America, and is part of a larger, ongoing data collection project that also incorporates published literature and field observations. Over the next two years or more, we will be collecting all observations of the winter tick, Dermacentor albipictus , across all life stages (egg to adult), as well as reports of host animals with distinctive hair loss over the winter, that is usually associated with winter tick infestation.

To ensure your observation is found by this project, please either ID or tag your image as 'winter tick'! This could be a tick, or a host animal with patchy hair - for example:

Citizen science has a tremendous role to play in informing scientific research, and we look forward to sharing our news with the wider iNaturalist community via this page as the research progresses.

Posted on January 26, 2019 20:55 by emilychenery emilychenery | 0 comments | Leave a comment