Yesterday, Megan Paustian, Jeff Nekola and I drove from the American Malacological Society meeting in Carbondale, Illinois to the airport in St. Louis, Missouri. Along the way, we stopped at the Pyramid State Park in Illinois for a quick look at the local snails. This was followed by an ice cream lunch at a Dairy Queen. After we returned to our car at the DQ parking lot, Megan found a tick in the car; one of us had undoubtedly picked it up at the park. I noticed the white spot on its back and identified it tentatively as a lone star tick (Amblyomma americanum) before throwing out the window. We didn't think of checking our bodies for more.
About 12 hours later back at home in Maryland, I was undressing to take a shower when I noticed a dark spot on my leg where none had been before. Sure enough, it was a tick gorging itself on my pure blood.
After the photo session, I removed the tick into a vial of alcohol. A quick search on the Internet identified it as a male lone star tick (Amblyomma americanum), which doesn't have the female's white spot (more info).
The lone star tick carries the microorganism that causes Rocky Mountain spotted fever and its bite may also cause something called southern tick-associated rash illness. I am hoping for the best.
My previous tick story (and Neil Young concert review) was here. I am sure there will be others in the future.