Know your ticks: Coastal bird tick (Ixodes auritulus)

First described in 1899, the coastal bird tick is native to BC. However, it's not terribly well studied and little is known about its life history. Early researchers describe it as being fairly common in coastal areas of the province where it mainly feeds on grouse.

What we know about this tick species is largely based on records from more than 50 years ago and scant research in recent years which show that specimens have been collected from at least 10 bird species in BC including sooty grouse and California quail.

Lyme disease bacteria has been found in several specimens collected in Canada's westernmost province but no known human infections have been caused by coastal bird ticks. It’s entirely possible that it plays a minor role in the transmission of Lyme disease in BC but until it becomes the subject on ongoing research efforts a certain amount of guessing is involved in just how important it is in human transmission. It is likely, however, that coastal bird ticks are involved in maintaining Lyme disease transmission cycles in nature.

Diseases carried: Lyme disease

Where found: Coastal BC

Photo of California quail by Richard Stovall on Unsplash