Usually when you're outdoors and you come in and find a tick on your body, you use whatever means to remove the tick and then dispose of it. Now the tick game has changed. Instead of getting rid of the tick, send it in for scientific research.

The Missouri Department of Conservation and A.T. Still University in Kirksville are asking Missourians to save ticks they find and send them to the University for scientific research to learn more about ticks and pathogens they may carry.

Most people who have ventured through Missouri woods, fields, yards, and other outdoor environments have encountered ticks. These small, creepy crawlers climb on and cling to clothes and skin in search of a blood meal. Some tick species and the bacterial pathogens they carry can also cause illnesses in people.

Missouri is home to three common species of ticks that bite humans: lone star tick, American dog tick, and deer tick. Adult ticks are about a quarter-inch long and grow to nearly double that when engorged with blood.

To help with the research efforts, people are asked to place each live tick in a plastic zip-top bag with a piece of damp paper towel or moist cotton ball, then fold the bag and place it inside another plastic zip-top bag with a completed sample-submission form. The sample-submission form is available for printing from the University website at

People are then asked to place the bag and completed sample-submission form in an envelope and mail it to: A.T. Still University, ATTENTION: Deb Hudman -- Dept. of Microbiology & Immunology, 800 W. Jefferson St., Kirksville MO 63501.

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