This tick occurs throughout western North America; occasionally in the east. Distribution of I. sculptus in the USA includes AZ, CA, CO, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, LA, MI, MN, MT, ND, NE, NM, NV, OK, OR, SD, TX, UT, WA, WI, and WY; in Canada, Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. It is commonly found in prairie habitats, but may also occur in shrubland and forested habitats.
This tick is most commonly associated with squirrels, usually burrowing mammals, and their predators. A study in Colorado found that hosts include several species of burrowing mammals, especially thirteen-lined ground squirrels (Spermophilus tridecemlineatus). Several species of carnivores, including domestic dogs, cats, as well as rodents, lagomorphs (rabbits) and goats have also been found to host this tick. It is a rare human biter.
Agents of tularemia, Q fever, and Colorado tick fever have been isolated from this species, suggesting it could be an enzootic vector.
H Joel Hutcheson, James W Mertins, Boris C Kondratieff, Monica M White, Ticks and Tick-Borne Diseases of Colorado, Including New State Records for Argas radiatus (Ixodida: Argasidae) and Ixodes brunneus (Ixodida: Ixodidae), Journal of Medical Entomology, , tjaa232, https://doi.org/10.1093/jme/tjaa232
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