There’s a new tick crawling around the Eastern half of the United States: the long-horned tick, an invasive species from Eastern Asia that’s been spotted increasingly in urban areas like Staten Island in New York, along with New Jersey, Virginia, and all the way down to Arkansas.
This new tick, however, is a mystery. Its cousins, most notably the black-legged tick, currently inhabit most of the eastern half of the United States; a western variant covers much of California. These two species are linked with Lyme disease, a debilitating illness that can cause arthritis, irregular heartbeat, and inflammation of the brain and spinal cord—among a litany of other issues.
This new long-horned tick, however, has not been shown to carry Lyme disease—yet.
The long-horned and black-legged ticks look quite similar to the naked eye. Males of both species are entirely one color; females of both species sport the same dark circle near their head. The long-horned tick has a slightly redder tint.