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Ixodes ricinus (engorged)
Ixodes ricinus (engorged)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Chelicerata
Class: Arachnida
Order: Ixodida
Superfamily: Ixodoidea
Family: Ixodidae
C. L. Koch, 1844

The Ixodidae are the family of hard ticks or scale ticks,[1] 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 Argasidae by the presence of a scutum.[2] In both the nymph and the adult, a prominent gnathosoma (or capitulum, mouth and feeding parts) projects forwards from the animal's body; in the Argasidae, conversely, the gnathosoma is concealed beneath the body.

They differ, too, in their lifecycle; Ixodidae that attach to a host 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.


Ixodid wynaad.jpg

Of the 702 species in 14 genera,[3] some are of considerable economic importance as vectors of diseases caused by bacteria such as Rickettsia and Borrelia.[2]

The family contains these genera:[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Ixodidae". NCBI taxonomy. Bethesda, MD: National Center for Biotechnology Information. Retrieved 28 September 2017. Lineage( full ) cellular organisms; Eukaryota; Opisthokonta; Metazoa; Eumetazoa; Bilateria; Protostomia; Ecdysozoa; Panarthropoda; Arthropoda; Chelicerata; Arachnida; Acari; Parasitiformes; Ixodida; Ixodoidea
  2. ^ a b D. H. Molyneux (1993). "Vectors". In Francis E. G. Cox (ed.). Modern parasitology: a textbook of parasitology (2nd ed.). Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 53–74. ISBN 978-0-632-02585-5.
  3. ^ a b 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.

External links[edit]

  • Data related to Ixodidae at Wikispecies
  • Media related to Ixodidae at Wikimedia Commons