Ornithodoros erraticus

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Ornithodoros erraticus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Chelicerata
Class: Arachnida
Subclass: Acari
Order: Ixodida
Family: Argasidae
Genus: Ornithodoros
Species: O. erraticus
Binomial name
Ornithodoros erraticus
Lucas, 1849[1]

Ornithodoros erraticus is a species of tick in the family Argasidae. The tick was described by Hippolyte Lucas in 1849.


The tick is native to the Middle East and Mediterranean.[2] It is one of the more common soft ticks to bite humans.[2] Their main food sources in Spain are pigs; the tick has been found in pig pens in the provinces of Salamanca, Badajoz, and Huelva.[3] The only human habitats the tick can enter are places in poor condition.[4]


This species carries the pathogenic Qalyub[5] and African swine fever viruses and the spirochetes Borrelia crocidurae and B. hispanica.[2] When the tick is infected by B. crocidurae, the disease affects its genetic organ, the testes in males and the ovaries in females. The tick transmits the African swine fever virus only in Spain and Portugal.[6]

The tick feeds at night, ingesting blood to repletion in about 15 minutes. Small mammals are the most common hosts;[7] this species rarely bites humans, preferring other vertebrates.[4] The tick has substances in its saliva, such as antihaemostatic, anti-inflammatory, and immunomodulatory molecules, which help the tick get blood from the host and transfer pathogens easily.[8] Major factors in their feeding relationship are mating, recent feeding, and size.

Some strains of entomopathogenic fungi have been found to be effective against this tick and others in the genus Ornithodoros in a study which concluded the fungi could be used as biocontrol agents for argasid ticks;[9] the name of this is called hyperparasitism.[10]


  1. ^ Hallan, Joel (24 March 2008). "Argasidae" (text). Catalog of the Acari. Texas A&M University Department of Entomology. Retrieved 17 December 2009. 
  2. ^ a b c Estrada-Peña, A.; Jongejan, F. (September 1999). "Ticks feeding on humans: a review of records on human-biting Ixodoidea with special reference to pathogen transmission". Experimental and Applied Acarology. 23 (9): 688. doi:10.1023/A:1006241108739. 
  3. ^ Oleaga-Pérez, A; Pérez-Sánchez, R; Encinas-Grandes, A (1990). "Distribution and biology of Ornithodoros erraticus in parts of Spain affected by African swine fever". The Vetenary Record. 126 (2): 32–37. doi:10.1136/vr.126.2.32. PMID 2301109. 
  4. ^ a b National Research Council (U.S.). Division of Medical Sciences; Division Of Medical Sciences, National Research Council (U.S.) (1962). Tropical health: a report on a study of needs and resources. National Academies,. p. 497. Retrieved 2010-06-02. 
  5. ^ Kurstak, Edouard; R.G. Marusyk, F.A. Murphy, and M.H.V. Van Regenmortel (1990). Applied Virology Research, Volume 2: Virus Variability, Epidemiology, and Control. New York, New York: Plenum Publishing Corporation. p. 341. ISBN 0-306-43359-1. 
  6. ^ Mullen, Gary; Mullen, Gary Richard; Durden, Lance (2009). Medical and Veterinary Entomology. Academic Press. p. 519. ISBN 978-0-12-372500-4. Retrieved 2010-06-02. 
  7. ^ D. Feigin, Ralph (2004). Textbook of pediatric infectious diseases, Volume 2. Elsevier Health Sciences. p. 1696. ISBN 978-0-7216-9329-3. Retrieved 2010-06-02. 
  8. ^ Oleaga, Ana; Escudero-Población, Andrés; Camafeita, Emilio; Pérez-Sánchez, Ricardo (November 2007). "A proteomic approach to the identification of salivary proteins from the argasid ticks Ornithodoros moubata and Ornithodoros erraticus (2007)". Insect biochemistry and molecular biology. 37 (11): 1149–59. doi:10.1016/j.ibmb.2007.07.003. PMID 17916501. 
  9. ^ Zabalgogeazcoa, I; Oleaga, A; Pérez-Sánchez, R (2008-12-20). "Pathogenicity of endophytic entomopathogenic fungi to Ornithodoros erraticus and Ornithodoros moubata (Acari: Argasidae)". Veterinary Parasitology. 158 (4): 336–343. doi:10.1016/j.vetpar.2008.09.019. PMID 18976863. 
  10. ^ Helmy, N; Khalil, GM; Hoogstraal, H (February 1983). "Hyperparasitism in Ornithodoros erraticus". Journal of Parasitology. 69 (1): 229–33. doi:10.2307/3281305. PMID 6827441. 

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