“I didn’t know what it was,” Oklahoma researcher discovers new tick

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STILLWATER, Okla. -- Tick trouble is popping up across the state, but researchers have discovered a new tick in Arkansas that they believe could be in the Sooner State.

“We opened this one from Arkansas and put it up there, and it didn't look like the main four or five species that we generally see in this area,” said Julia Jordy, OSU veterinarian resident.

To the researchers, the tick was unrecognizable.

“So we were looking for it but we were still surprised to find it in a dog from Arkansas,” said Dr. Susan Little.

Dr. Little and her research team couldn’t believe what they saw.

“We were already on the lookout for this new tick to the United States, Haemaphysalis longicornis, the longhorn or bush tick because we already heard reports of the tick in New Jersey and Virginia and West Virginia,” Little said.

Now you can add Arkansas to the list, and researchers are checking to see if it has made its way to Oklahoma.

“I didn't know what it was off the top of my head because it`s not something we see here,” said Jordy, who now says students at OSU will begin to learn more about the parasite.

The longhorn tick is smaller than the ones we are used to seeing, but has a larger mouth.

“This tick is unusual compared to the more common ticks that we're used to in North America. It does transmit diseases, viruses, bacteria and protozoa,” said Little.

And what really makes this bug different than the others is how it reproduces.

“What`s different about this tick is that the females can actually reproduce without males. They use a procedure or a process known as parthenogenesis, so they're able to have their own offspring without even needing males,” Little said.

Dr. Little said that means people can be seeing a whole lot of them.

“We end up with huge burst of ticks, large numbers of ticks in the environment fairly quickly,” she said.

The tick found in Arkansas was not an adult, but the vet said when you see one, there are likely others.

Thankfully, your normal repellant will work to ward off the pest.

If you think you may have seen one, instructions on submitting the necessary information can be found here.

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