Rhipicephalus sanguineus

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Rhipicephalus sanguineus (click on image to enlarge it)
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Rhipicephalus sanguineus (Latereille, 1806) - (brown dog tick)

The tick is widely distributed, especially in warmer regions. In temperate regions it is normally only found indoors, but can enter a resting stage during cold periods. It feeds on dogs, but may also bite other mammals, including humans. The tick is the vector of several dog pathogens like canine ehrlichiosis (Ehrlichia canis) and canine babesia (Babesia canis). Other diseases transmitted include Q-fever (Coxiella burnetii) and even human pathogens like Mediterranean spotted fever (Rickettsia conorii).

Dogs typically become infested during contact with other dogs. A tick population can reach high levels if it is not controlled. Control options include regular inspections of dogs, especially after contact with other dogs, repellents and acaricide treatments.

Vernacular names
• Deutsch: braune Hundezecke
• English: brown dog tick
• Español: garrapata canina marrón
• Français: tique sanguine

The female tick lays eggs on the ground or indoors in resting places of dogs. Larvae, nymphs and adults all feed on dogs, usually for about a week. After feeding, they leave the host for molting or egg-laying. The total life cycle from egg to mature adult lasts around 2-3 months. It can be longer if no suitable hosts are available.

The adult is about 3 mm long (unfed), reddish brown with a darker scutum (shield on the back). The basis capituli (the dorsal plate connecting the head with the body) is hexagonal.

For a review see Dantas-Torres, 2010.