We analyzed the geographic distribution of the Ixodes ricinus-like ticks in eastern North America by comparing the mitochondrial 16S rDNA sequences of specimens sampled directly from the field during the 1990s. Two distinct lineages are evident. The southern clade includes ticks from the southeastern and middle-eastern regions of the United States. The range of the northern clade, which appears to have been restricted to the northeastern region until the mid-1900s, now extends throughout the northeastern and middle-eastern regions. These phyletic units correspond to northern and southern taxa that have previously been assigned specific status as Ixodes dammini and Ixodes scapularis, respectively. The expanding range of I. dammini appears to drive the present outbreaks of zoonotic disease in eastern North America that include Lyme disease and human babesiosis.