Fonseca Lab

Reaction to the re-discovery of the longhorned tick in NJ

21 April 2018 – NJ Department of Agriculture formally announced the re-emergence of the invasive tick (aka exotick) – click on the date for the press-release. A few news outlets have responded: NJ.com; wrnjradio.com; Philadelphia Inquirer;¬†CBS New York; People Magazine. There was also a piece on National Public Radio. Reaction overall seems muted, sometimes fatalistic and often humorous (check out the comments on NJ.com’s website ūüôā )

The longhorned tick is back! (actually, it never left)

13 April 2018 – It was Friday the 13th but also one of the first warm days of this Spring and Jim decided to go check up on the ticks in the Hunterdon farm where an invasive tick,¬†Haemaphysalis longicornis,¬†was confirmed in 2017. Andrea went with him – the “buddy system” is an important tool of surveillance.¬† They were also supported by Tadhgh Rainey from the Hunterdon Department of Health and Adam Randall from F&W. Jim brought along CO2 traps, which turned out to be a great decision. They swept the grassland and got nothing, but found several nymphs and a few larvae and adults were attracted to the dry ice. They caught them with tweezers as they climbed onto the white cardboard surrounding the dry ice cooler.

First talk on Exoticks

22 February 2018 – Dina is giving a talk on invasive ticks (aka¬†Exoticks) at the 2018 Tick Summit (VII) at the¬†National Wildlife Visitor Center at Patuxent Research Refuge (10901 Scarlet Tanager Loop, Laurel, MD 20708). She’ll give an overview of invasive ticks in the US (and also worldwide) and summarize the detection last summer of¬†Haemaphysalis longicornis¬†by Rainey, Occi, Robbins and Egizi in Hunterdon, NJ.¬†

Exotic hard-tick detected in NJ!

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Three life-stages of H. longicornis. Adult female (left), partially engorged nymph (center) and larvae (right). Scale is millimeters. Picture by Jim Occi, Rutgers University

22 November 2017 – We had to wait until an official joint press release was issued by the NJ Dept. of Agriculture and NJ Dept. of Health yesterday,¬†but on November 9 Andrea, using the barcode mtDNA sequence, identified an unknown tick that had been found in Hunterdon county, NJ back in August. The tick was brought to our attention by Jim Occi, who was contacted by the Hunterdon Department of Health that shrewdly had figured out the tick was “something different”. Shortly after, Andrea’s tick ID was confirmed by USDA-APHIS. It is Haemaphysalis longicornis,¬†the “longhorned tick” or “bush tick”. This species is native to northeast Asia (China, Russia, Japan) but expanded into Australasia (Australia, New Zealand, Pacific islands) in the 1800’s or early 1900’s. While¬†H.¬†longicornis¬†had been intercepted several times in United States ports of entry, there are no known established populations in the New World. This tick is decidedly an agricultural (livestock) pest and disease vector and it has been associated with human pathogen transmission, particularly in farmers and those handling livestock. The question in everyone’s mind is: will it survive the NJ winter? That will likely depend on where it came from.

For more details on this tick go to our research page where there is also a link to a summary review that Dina, Andrea and Jim (with help from researchers at USDA-APHIS and USDA-ARS) wrote.