Welcome to the University of Bristol online resource for the identification of ticks of veterinary importance.

This site is intended for researchers and veterinary practitioners, primarily in the UK and Republic of Ireland,  who wish to identify tick specimens, or who require information on their morphology,distribution, biology and status as vectors of disease.  For an illustrated glossary of morphological features please click HERE.

Many of the species of tick included in this website have been recorded in the UK and Republic of Ireland but several are known from parts of continental Europe only; they are included here due to their role as vectors of disease and because they could potentially be carried on travelling companion animals into the UK and Republic of Ireland.

To identify a specimen, please click HERE to get started with the key.

The link for each species will tell you about its:

  • Morphological features
  • Geographical distribution
  • Host
  • Life cycle
  • Pathogenesis

All photos and diagrams will enlarge when clicked on.  Alternatively, feel free to browse the species pages listed on the left-hand side of the page

Please note this guide is designed for the identification of adult males and adult unfed females, it will not be of use for specimens that are fully engorged, please see below.

(Photo copyright Natural History Museum, London)

From left to right (Ixodes ricinus): larva, nymph, fully engorged nymph, unfed adult male, unfed adult female, fully engorged adult female

Nymphs and Adult females:

When a specimen with a half scutum is obtained, it is important to check the ventral surface for the presence of a genital aperture (see below) as the absence of the genital aperture will indicate that the specimen obtained is in fact a nymph and not an adult female and so this site will not be effective at identifying the specimen.


Position of the genital aperture can vary with species, however it is generally located between either coxae IV or coxae III.

Quick check for Veterinary practitioners:

If you are a Veterinary practitioner and you need a quick diagnosis for a dog, please use the quick species links below:

Dog: Dermacentor marginatus (Morocco, Spain, Italy, South France, Switzerland, West Germany, Poland)

          Dermacentor reticulatus (UK through to West Europe)

          Haemaphysalis concinna (France, Germany, Poland)

         Haemaphysalis inermis (France, Poland, regions of the Mediterranean)

         Hyalomma aegyptium (Southern Europe)

         Hyalomma marginatum (UK, France, Denmark, Norway, Portugal)

         Ixodes canisuga (UK, Ireland, throughout Europe)

         Ixodes hexagonus (South East UK, Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Holland, Iceland, Norway, Germany, Poland, Switzerland, Italy, Spain)

         Ixodes persulcatus (Eastern Europe)

         Ixodes ricinus (UK, temperate areas of Europe)

         Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) annulatus (Central and Southern region of the Mediterranean)

         Rhipicephalus bursa (Mediterranean regions, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Romania)

         Rhipicephalus sanguineus (Worldwide-kennels)


All images are copyright of  University of Bristol, however please feel free to copy pictures/photos on this site for educational or non-profit use, but please credit ‘Christina M Berry/University of Bristol’ for all photos and diagrams, unless stated otherwise (see individual photos for more information).  For commercial use please contact me to discuss license arrangements on the email stated below.

Website by Christina M Berry BSc PGCE MSc: any inquiries please contact



Professor Richard Wall, University of Bristol- Main project supervisor

Dr John McGarry, School of Veterinary science, University of Liverpool- Main collaborator on this project, as well as being the one who came up with the idea for this resource.  Project guidance and donation of tick samples (Dermacentor marginatus, Ixodes hexagonus, Rhipicephalus sanguineus)

Dr Paul Phipps, Veterinary Laboratory Agency- donation of tick samples for photographing (Ixodes canisuga, Hyalomma aegyptium, Hyalomma anatolicum excavatum, Haemaphysalis punctata female and Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) annulatus)

Jolyon Medlock, Health protection agency-donation of tick samples for photographing (Dermacentor reticulatus)

Mrs Janet Beccaloni, curator of Arachnida and Myriapoda, The Natural History Museum-Allowed use of the photography suit at the Natural History Museum and produced tick samples that were missing from other collections (Haemaphysalis concinna, I. persulcatus, I. acuminatus, I. apronophorus, I. arboricola, I. caledonicus, I. lividus, I. rothschildi, I. trianguliceps, I. unicavatus, I. uriae (female) and I. vespertilionis (male))

Professor Alan Walker, University of Edinburgh- assistance in locating the identification guide to ticks of domestic animals in the Mediterranean region, as well as sending me a copy of the identification guide to ticks of domestic animals in Africa, both of which contributed to the glossary of morphological terms as well as the keys presented here.  His general guidance with the website content was also of great help and much appreciated

Professor Augustin Estrada-Pena, University of Zaragoza- supplying the identification guide to ticks of domestic animals in the Mediterranean region, which contributed to the glossary of morphological terms as well as the keys presented here



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