Tick Family

Scientific classification:

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Ticks

The Risks

Ticks – UK & Ireland

Appearance

Feeding

Life Cycle

Reproduction

Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Arthropoda Subphylum: Chelicerata Class: Arachnida Subclass: Acarina (or Acari) Superorder: Parasitiformes Order: Ixodida Superfamily: Ixodoidea (hard ticks) / Argasidae (soft ticks) / Nutalliellidae

Ticks are Arthropods, which means that they have jointed limbs. They come from the family Arachnida (‘eight-legged’) and are closely related to spiders, scorpions, mites and harvestmen. Ticks are from the order Acarina and are parasitic (feeding on the living tissue of a person or animal – the host). They are ectoparasites, which means that they are external parasites, living on the outside of the host’s body.

Tick can be endophilic or exophilic. Endophilic ticks remain within their host’s nest or burrow throughout their life cycle. Exophilic ticks actively seek their hosts out.

Ticks can be hard bodied or soft bodied. There are three families:

FAMILY
MORE COMMON GENERA
NUMBER OF SPECIES

Argasidae

Soft tick

Antricola

Argas

Otobius

Ornithodoros

4

140

2

90

Ixodidae – Group 1: Prostriata

Hard tick

Purely the genus

Ixodes

Approx 250

Ixodidae – Group 2: Metastriata Hard tick The difference between the two groups is determined by the location of an anal groove, anterior to the anus in Prostriata, and posterior to the anus in Metastriata
Amblyomma
Aponomma
Anocentor
Boophilus
Dermacentor
Haemaphysalis
Hyalomma
Rhipicephalus
Margaropus

100

26

1

5

31

150

21

63

3

Nutalliellidae – morphological features of both the Argasidae and Ixodidae

Nuttalliella namaqua

Lone species found in South Africa and Tanzania.

Ixodids occupy more habitats and parasitize a greater variety of animals than argasids. They will choose all manner of mammals, reptiles, and birds as hosts and are vectors for a variety of diseases. Humans and companion animals become incidental hosts, because of their presence in the tick’s habitat.

Over the years there has been a steady increase in the distribution and density of ticks, which is caused largely by human impact on the habitat and the wildlife hosts of ticks (Randolph et al.), but also may be due to climatic changes.