NEON ticks sampled using drag cloths and tick pathogen status

Sampling event
Latest version published by National Ecological Observatory Network on Dec 31, 2022 National Ecological Observatory Network

Download the latest version of this resource data as a Darwin Core Archive (DwC-A) or the resource metadata as EML or RTF:

Data as a DwC-A file download 2,757 records in English (5 MB) - Update frequency: unknown
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This data product contains the quality-controlled, native sampling resolution data from NEON’s Tick and Tick-Borne Pathogen sampling crosswalked to Darwin Core. NEON tick sampling targets hard ticks in the family Ixodidae. The dataset includes collection, identification and pathogen testing data from 2014 – 2020. Data are collected across the United States including Alaska and Puerto Rico, but excluding Hawaii. Tick abundance and diversity are sampled at regular intervals using drag or flag sampling techniques. Collected ticks are identified to species and lifestage and/or sex by a professional taxonomist. A subset of identified nymphal ticks are tested for the presence of bacterial and protozoan pathogens. For additional details, see and

Data Records

The data in this sampling event resource has been published as a Darwin Core Archive (DwC-A), which is a standardized format for sharing biodiversity data as a set of one or more data tables. The core data table contains 2,757 records.

1 extension data tables also exist. An extension record supplies extra information about a core record. The number of records in each extension data table is illustrated below.

Event (core)

This IPT archives the data and thus serves as the data repository. The data and resource metadata are available for download in the downloads section. The versions table lists other versions of the resource that have been made publicly available and allows tracking changes made to the resource over time.


The table below shows only published versions of the resource that are publicly accessible.

How to cite

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

Paull S (2022): NEON ticks sampled using drag cloths and tick pathogen status. v1.2. National Ecological Observatory Network. Dataset/Samplingevent.


Researchers should respect the following rights statement:

The publisher and rights holder of this work is National Ecological Observatory Network. To the extent possible under law, the publisher has waived all rights to these data and has dedicated them to the Public Domain (CC0 1.0). Users may copy, modify, distribute and use the work, including for commercial purposes, without restriction.

GBIF Registration

This resource has been registered with GBIF, and assigned the following GBIF UUID: 12315bb8-8ab3-446a-b5a4-2be93aade242.  National Ecological Observatory Network publishes this resource, and is itself registered in GBIF as a data publisher endorsed by U.S. Geological Survey.




Sara Paull
  • Metadata Provider
  • Originator
  • Point Of Contact
Research Scientist
National Ecological Observatory Network
Kate Thibault
  • Point Of Contact
Lead Research Scientist
National Ecological Observatory Network

Geographic Coverage

Data are collected at 46 terrestrial NEON sites across the United States including Alaska and Puerto Rico, but excluding Hawaii.

Bounding Coordinates South West [15.623, -168.75], North East [71.301, -65.391]

Taxonomic Coverage

This dataset covers hard ticks collected using the drag/flag method including: Ixodes pacificus, Amblyomma americanum, Amblyomma maculatum, Dermacentor andersoni, Dermacentor occidentalis, Dermacentor variabilis, Haemaphysalis leporispalustris, Haemaphysalis longicornis, Ixodes affinis, Ixodes angustus, Ixodes dentatus, Ixodes marxi, Ixodes muris, and Ixodes scapularis. This dataset also covers testing results for several tick-borne pathogens including: Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Babesia microti, Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, Borrelia lonestari, Borrelia mayonii, Borrelia myamotoi, Ehrlichia chaffeensis, Ehrlichia ewingii, Ehrlichia muris-like, Francisella tularensis, and Rickettsia rickettsii.

Family Ixodidae (hard ticks)
Genus Ixodes sp., Dermacentor sp., Haemaphysalis sp., Amblyomma sp., Borrelia sp., Ehrlichia sp.
Species Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Babesia microti, Francisella tularensis, Rickettsia rickettsii

Temporal Coverage

Start Date / End Date 2014-04-17 / 2020-10-06

Project Data

The National Science Foundation's National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) is a continental-scale ecological observation facility, fully funded by NSF and operated by Battelle. NEON collects and provides open data from 81 field sites across the United States that characterize and quantify how our nation's ecosystems are changing. Each year, NEON collects and archives over 100,000 specimens and samples that complement the field observations and automated measurements collected at field sites. These samples represent a rich resource unique among natural history collections due to NEON’s utility for continental- and decadal-scale ecology. NEON’s archival samples are available upon request to support research studies and analyses. The comprehensive data, spatial extent and remote sensing technology provided by the NEON project will contribute to a better understanding and more accurate forecasting of how human activities impact ecology and how our society can more effectively address critical ecological questions and issues.

Title National Ecological Observatory Network
Funding National Science Foundation
Study Area Description United States including Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico

The personnel involved in the project:

Sampling Methods

Ticks are collected along the border of a 40m x 40m plot using drag and/or flag sampling techniques. There are 6 plots sampled at each NEON site. Samples are sent to an external laboratory where they are enumerated and identified by a professional taxonomist. A bout of sampling is only performed if the high temperature in the 2 days prior to sampling is >0C. Sampling is only performed when the ground is dry and during periods of low wind (below 10-20 mph). The hottest part of the day is also avoided during the summer months.

Study Extent This study includes data from 46 terrestrial field sites located across the United States including Alaska and Puerto Rico. Sampling occurs during the growing season every 3 weeks at sites with established tick populations (defined as capturing > 5 ticks in the previous field season), and every 6 weeks at sites without established tick populations. A subset of nymphal ticks are sent for pathogen testing once per year.
Quality Control Many quality control measures are implemented at the point of data entry within a mobile data entry application or web user interface (UI). For example, data formats are constrained and data values controlled through the provision of dropdown options, which reduces the number of processing steps necessary to prepare the raw data for publication. An additional set of constraints are implemented during the process of ingest into the NEON database. Data collected prior to 2017 were processed using a paper‐based workflow that did not implement the full suite of quality control features associated with the interactive digital workflow.

Method step description:

  1. Data from the 2022 data release were downloaded from the National Ecological Observatory Network data portal. Data included information on tick collection, identification and pathogen testing. The identification data were expanded to allow each row to represent a single tick to allow for documentation of associatedOccurrences.

Collection Data

Collection Name U.S. National Tick Collection
Collection Identifier
Collection Name NEON Biorepository - Tick Collection (DNA Extracts [Pathogen Extracts])
Collection Identifier

Additional Metadata