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Press Release 11-032

Numbers of Lyme Disease-Carrying Ticks Plummet in Absence of Western Lizards

California areas without lizards had significant drop in tick populations

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Photo of a Western fence lizard, Sceloporus occidentalis.

Western fence lizards (Sceloporus occidentalis) can be found with dozens of ticks attached.

Credit: Anand Varma


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Photo of a researcher looking for ticks on a male Western fence lizard.

A researcher looks for ticks; male lizards have blue throats and bellies to attract females.

Credit: Anand Varma


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Photo of a specialized fold in the neck of a lizard which accomodates ticks.

Some lizards accommodate ticks with a specialized fold in their necks: "mite pockets."

Credit: Anand Varma


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Photo of an adult tick on a thumbnail.

This adult tick (Ixodes sp.) can carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.

Credit: Anand Varma


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Photo of the head of an alligator lizard.

Other reptiles, such as this alligator lizard (Elgaria sp.), have Lyme-disease-carrying ticks.

Credit: Anand Varma


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