What Does A Tick Look Like?
While there are hundreds of different types of ticks in the U.S., only a few live in the Mid-Atlantic region. In general, these pests have teardrop-shaped bodies and females are typically larger than males. Size and appearance vary by species, and most ticks have distinct characteristics that help with identification.
Tick Photo Gallery
We’ve put together an image gallery of the most common ticks in the region. In addition to learning more about the appearance and characteristics of the species, these pictures can help you identify a tick if you see one in your home or business, or worse, on you, your family, or your pets. While they may seem similar from a distance, each species is unique in how they look.
Males can be black or dark brown. Females have a dark red abdomen and black head.
A drawing of a deer tick
A deer tick pictured on a plant
Due to their small size and coloration, ticks are hard to spot outdoors. The pests are far too little to see on blades of grass, and their reddish-orange or dark brown coloration helps them blend in with their surroundings.
Deer tick images top and underside views
Two deer ticks pictured on a penny for size reference
As seen from this deer tick photo, these pests are tiny. Females grow up to about an eighth of an inch in length. Male deer ticks, on the other hand, are slightly smaller in size.
A photo of a deer tick crawling on a person’s skin
In this side-view pest image, you can see that ticks are small and flat before feeding. Once they’ve taken a blood meal, adult female ticks can increase in size to as much as a half-inch in length. Their coloring can also change to tan, gray, or dark brown.
Deer tick pictured on a person’s finger
Since they are hard to see, it’s easy for people to mistake a tick for a head louse. Both pests are small and appear similar at first glance. For pest identification, you’ll need to take a close look at the specimen’s limbs. A louse has six legs while an adult tick has eight.
Photo of a group of adult deer ticks
A close-up male deer tick on a person
In this deer tick image, you can see why some people call the pests black-legged ticks. Adult males tend to be dark brown with no reddish coloration. Females are brown to reddish-orange and have a black shield-like plate, or scutum, behind their heads.
Brown Dog Tick
A detailed drawing of a brown dog tick
Top view of a brown dog tick on a plant
Male brown dog ticks take only small amounts of blood from a host, but females take much more. Adult females range in size from an eighth to a fourth of an inch in length, but their size and shape changes dramatically after feeding.
Close-up top view of a brown dog tick
Both males and females are a similar reddish-brown color. As you can tell from this top-view pest image, other than a slightly pitted appearance, the brown dog tick lacks the more distinct body patterns found in other species.
Photo of a dog tick waiting on a blade of grass
The Importance of Pest Identification
As with any pest, tick identification can help you better understand the nature of the problem and develop a plan of action. Knowing which species you have in or around your home or business is key when trying to keep your family and pets safe and prevent an infestation.