Distribution, seasonality, and hosts of the Rocky Mountain wood tick in the United States

J Med Entomol. 2006 Jan;43(1):17-24.


Anaplasma marginale Theiler is a tick-borne pathogen that causes anaplasmosis in cattle. There are approximately 20 tick species worldwide that are implicated as vectors of this pathogen. In the United States, Dermacentor andersoni Stiles and Dermacentor variabilis (Say) are the principal vectors. The risk of transmission of anaplasmosis to cattle has been largely based on the distribution of D. andersoni in the United States. We developed a centralized geographic database that incorporates collection records for D. andersoni from two large national databases. We reviewed the geographic records in each database and postings from MEDLINE and AGRICOLA to produce a national county-level distribution map based on a total of 5,898 records. The records spanned the period from 1903 through 2001 with the majority between 1921 to 1940. Populations of D. andersoni were recorded from 267 counties in 14 states and were distinguished as either established or reported. We found 180 counties with established populations of D. andersoni and 87 counties with reported occurrences in 14 states with the majority of established populations reported from Montana, Idaho, and Oregon. D. andersoni populations in the United States currently extend from the western portions of Nebraska and the Dakotas westward to the Cascade Mountains and from the northern counties of Arizona and New Mexico northward to the Canadian border. The data will be useful for identifying regions at increased risk of acquiring anaplasmosis in the United States. Based upon the database collection records, we also present a summary of recorded hosts for D. andersoni and comments on its seasonal occurrence.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Domestic
  • Animals, Wild
  • Arachnid Vectors / classification*
  • Arachnid Vectors / physiology
  • Cattle
  • Databases as Topic
  • Demography
  • Dermacentor / classification*
  • Dermacentor / physiology
  • Geography
  • Host-Parasite Interactions
  • Humans
  • Seasons
  • Tick Infestations / epidemiology*
  • United States / epidemiology