Never heard of such a thing until last Sunday morning I found one of these chewing on my leg with joyous abandon. A week later the bite site still has moments where it itches like crazy.
It's called a Lone Star tick because a) it's range includes Texas, and b) the larger female has a single white dot on it's back. Around this part of Georgia all we usually see are deer ticks, which do carry Lyme disease, especially in the north east parts of the US.
A well done wiki article on Lone Star ticks here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amblyomma_americanum
It does not carry Lyme disease. It can carry STARI, "Southern Tick Related Rash Illness." And the major bummer, the critter can inject you with a kind of enzyme that will give you a serious allergic reaction to the consumption of red meat, "non-primate mammalian meat" specifically beef, pork, lamb and venison.
Which leaves poultry, seafood, monkeys and other people. For the rest of your life.
Red meat allergy article here: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0220102727.htm
Once discovered, I removed the parasite with one of these tick removal tools: http://www.tickinfo.com/protickremedy.htm
Which this study compares favorably with two other tools, all of which perform better than tweezers. (This link will open a .pdf file)
Then sooner you find the tick and remove it, the less the chance of getting any disease, Lyme, STARI or meat allergies. Long pants and insect repellant are helpful, along with giving the kids the "once over" when they come out of the woods.
And finally a picture of the parasite, for all of you who like me have lived your whole life without having seen one.