Difference Between Deer Ticks and Western Blacklegged Ticks

Although the deer tick is also commonly known as the blacklegged deer tick, deer ticks prefer to feed on the blood of white-tailed deer, while western blacklegged ticks tend to choose Columbian black-tailed deer as their hosts. Deer tick larvae and nymphs develop in summer and target much smaller animals like white-footed mice. Immature western blacklegged ticks often feed on lizards like the western fence lizard.

Deer ticks and western blacklegged ticks also exhibit a number of similarities. Both species are hard ticks and can feed on multiple hosts throughout their lives. This means that the tick drops off the host after feeding, and then potentially finds a new host for the next meal. Both species are also vectors of Lyme disease. Deer ticks are responsible for the spread of Lyme disease throughout various regions of the United States, while the western blacklegged tick is the primary cause for its spread across the Pacific Coast.