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Meet the winners and losers of climate change

By: Catie Leary on Oct. 23, 2015, 1:30 p.m.
Climate change winner: American dog tick

Photo: © Joel Sartore/National Geographic

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Winner: American dog tick

Ticks are faring well. Climate affects a tick's life cycle, influencing the intricate dance among the arachnid, its infected hosts, and the diseases it spreads (for the American dog tick, that includes Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia). But the consequences of changing climate patterns are complex and inconsistent: Disease transmission to humans may go up in some areas, down in others.

Meanwhile, in the eastern U.S. certain species, like the black-legged tick, are emerging weeks early from their winter slumber to feed — and are adapting well to the new schedule.