Atlas of livestock parasites
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Boophilus microplus



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Boophilus microplus

Cattle fever tick, tropical cattle tick 

General Description:
Inornate ticks with eyes. Palpi and mouth parts are short. Base of capitulum is hexagonal and the scutum is small. Males are small (3 to 4 mm long). Fully engorged females are 10 to 12 mm in length.

Life Cycle:
Boophilus is a one-host tick. Unfed larvae may survive 7 months. Development usually takes place in 1 to 2 months.

Any part of the body of the cattle.

Geographical Distribution:

Boophilus ticks may transmit babesiosis. Babesia bigemina and B. bovis, the protozoans involved in tick fever, multiply in the ticks and are passed by female ticks to their eggs so the next generation of ticks is automatically infected. Such transovarian transmission increases the spread of cattle tick fever. This disease is characterized by high fever and enlarged spleen and liver with jaundice, emaciation, and death in up to 90 percent of cases. Boophilus spp. ticks also transmit anaplasmosis.
Boophilus microplus (tropical cattle tick) transmits, in addition to the disease mentioned above, Q fever (Rickettsia burnetii).

Effects on Host:
These ticks cause irritation which leads to licking, biting, and scratching. Secondary bacterial infection may follow. In large numbers the ticks may take sufficient blood to cause anemia. However, the transmission of disease organ-isms mentioned above is the most serious aspect of ticks. The first sign of cattle suffering from one of the tick fevers is stiffness when chased. Eventually the infected animal shows lack of coordination of the legs, has a high fever, and eventually falls.

Diagnostic Information:
Identification of ticks on cattle.


Tick control by dipping is effective if done on a regular basis. The first chemicals used in tick control were arsenicals. These were followed by chlorinated hydrocarbons. Organophosphorus, carbamate insecticides, synthetic pyrethroids and ivermectin are now used. One-host ticks such as Boophilus are often the first to develop resistance. Therefore control measures have to be changed frequently.


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