Atlas of livestock parasites
digitized collection of microscopical preparations

Atlas of Parasites Contents Information sources Glossary Administration

Ixodes spp. (pigs)



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Ixodes spp.

General Description:
Amblyomma and Dermacentor ticks have ornate (patterned) upper body surfaces, whereas Boophilus and Ixodes are plain brown in color. Rectangular divisions on the rear body edge are called festoons and are present only on Amblyomma and Dermacentor. Of these ticks, only Ixodes is eyeless.

Life Cycle:

Ixodes is a three-host tick genus with a life cycle that requires about 3 years. Unfed larvae, nymphs, and adult ticks each can survive for 1.5 to 2 years.

Anywhere on the host body.

Geographical Distribution:
Ixodes species occur on pigs and other animals in Europe, North America, and South Africa.

Heavy tick infestation can cause great debilitation. Ticks tend to be of greater significance with pastured swine than with closely confined animals.

Effect on Host:
These parasites cause tick worry, blood loss, and damage at feeding sites, and can transmit protozoal diseases. Infested pigs itch, bite, and scratch, causing self-inflicted skin trauma susceptible to infection. Heavy tick burdens may result in anemia, loss of appetite, and weight loss. Amblyomma, Dermacentor, and Ixodes ticks are associated with tick paralysis, which can be fatal within several days if the parasites are not removed. The paralysis is caused by toxins injected by female ticks while they suck blood.

Diagnostic Information:
Identification of adult ticks found on the host animal.

Treatment of infested animals and their premises is an integral part of tick control. Chemical agents with residual action are most effective.


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