Ixodes ricinus (engorged)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Arachnida
Subclass: Acari
Superorder: Parasitiformes
Order: Metastigmata = Ixodida
Family: Ixodidae
C. L. Koch, 1844

The Ixodidae are the family of hard ticks, one of the two big families of ticks, consisting of over 700 species. They are known as 'hard ticks' because they have a scutum or hard shield, which the other big family of ticks, the soft ticks (Argasidae), lack. They are ectoparasites of a wide range of host species, and some are vectors of disease.


They are distinguished from the soft ticks (Argasidae) by the presence of a scutum.[1] In both the nymph and the adult, a prominent capitulum (head) projects forwards from the animal's body; in the Argasidae, conversely, the capitulum is concealed beneath the body.

They differ too, in their life cycle; Ixodidae that attach to a host will bite painlessly and generally unnoticed, and they remain in place until they engorge and are ready to change their skin; this process may take days or weeks. Some species drop off the host to moult in a safe place, whereas others remain on the same host and only drop off once they are ready to lay their eggs.


Of the 702 species in 14 genera,[2] some are of considerable economic importance as vectors of diseases caused by bacteria such as Rickettsia and Borrelia.[1]

The family contains these genera:[2]

  • Amblyomma – 130 species (includes some of Aponomma)
  • Anomalohimalaya – three species
  • Bothriocroton – seven species
  • Cosmiomma – one species
  • Cornupalpatum – one species
  • Compluriscutula – one species
  • Dermacentor – 34 species (includes Anocentor)
  • Haemaphysalis – 166 species
  • Hyalomma – 27 species
  • Ixodes – 246 species
  • Margaropus – three species
  • Nosomma – two species
  • Rhipicentor – two species
  • Rhipicephalus – 82 species (includes Boophilus)

See also


  1. 1 2 D. H. Molyneux (1993). "Vectors". In Francis E. G. Cox. Modern parasitology: a textbook of parasitology (2nd ed.). Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 53–74. ISBN 978-0-632-02585-5.
  2. 1 2 Alberto A. Guglielmone; Richard G. Robbing; Dmitry A. Apanaskevich; Trevor N. Petney; Agustín Estrada-Peña; Ivan G. Horak; Renfu Shao; Stephen C. Barker (2010). "The Argasidae, Ixodidae and Nuttalliellidae (Acari: Ixodida) of the world: a list of valid species names" (PDF). Zootaxa. 2528: 1–28.
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