The Lone Star Tick

While Hoosiers could encounter the lone star tick in any suitable habitat in the state, it is most typically found in the damp wooded areas in southern Indiana. In fact, this is the second most commonly encountered tick by humans, coming in right behind the dog tick.

One reason the lone star tick is the second most common tick found on humans is because it is the medium-sized species of the three we are focusing on. It is closer in size to the dog tick than the blacklegged tick. And, just like the other two types of ticks, the adult female is the largest of any of the lone star tick’s stages.

Lone star ticks have been linked to the spread of:

  • Tick paralysis (adult female stage only)
  • Rocky Mountain spotted fever
  • Ehrlichiosis
  • Southern tick-associated rash illness (STARI)
  • Alpha-gal allergy (which causes an allergic reactions to mammal products)

The following table outlines some basic characteristics of the lone star tick:



Primary Host(s)

Most Active/Abundant Time Period Annually


(a.k.a “seed ticks” or “turkey ticks”)

Light in color

Ground-dwelling birds; small mammals (e.g. rodents; large mammals (e.g. deer and livestock); Pets; Humans

In the spring and again in the fall


Light with some dark accents

Survive in the soil in winter, then are active April through July

Adult Male

A mixture of red-brown with some black patches

Survive in the soil in winter, then are active late March through June

Adult Female

Dark, red-brown color with a pearl-colored, vaguely star-shaped marking on her back; Longer mouthparts than the male

For a quick reference ID card for identifying the blacklegged tick, the lone star tick, and the American dog tick click here.

 For more information about various tips and strategies for preventing tick bites, visit our Prevention page.