That's Wild: More Skinks = Less Lyme Disease?
Black-legged ticks, aka deer ticks, are the main vector spreading Lyme disease to humans. Although Lyme disease is found throughout the United States, cases aren't distributed evenly. Scientists have long observed a sharp north-south divide, with the Northeast reporting many more cases than the Sunbelt. Why?
According to new research, the answer is skinks.
Deer ticks in the north typically latch onto small mammals like mice, while south of the Mason-Dixon line, they prefer to feed on lizard blood — especially skink blood. While mice are notorious for transmitting Lyme disease to people, skinks are poor transmitters. That means that in the skinky South, Lyme disease is a lot less likely to move from ticks to people.
Skinks aren't just adorable — they're also heroes.
Read more at Science.