* Updated Apr 2014:
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.
The link for each species will tell you about its:
For a Glossary of morphological features go to:
* Updated Aug 2013:
Great video by UK vet on the tick life cycle!
Get a close up look at the tick’s mouth parts & view pics of engorged ticks (eeks!)
The link on ticks takes you to various ticks common in the U.S. & Canada. As you can see, the females tend to be much larger & a different colour to the males. Larvae are very small & have 6 legs, Nymphs & Adults have 8 legs.
This is an excellent resource in identifying your tick. Has pictures of ticks at various sizes: from unfed to engorged, larva to adult and male & female. Also lists the common infections associated with each type of tick.
Mosquitoes may be the single largest carriers of infection but ticks are right behind them with a long list of debilitating diseases. One good point is that if you use the personal protection system known as the DOD system you will be protecting yourself and family at levels nearly 100% from both the tick AND the mosquito.
The best method for stopping insect borne disease is to avoid the bite. This is equally true for both mosquitoes and ticks. The best system for accomplishing this is a repellent system known as the DoD system. It stands for Department of Defense and comprises two components: a topical deet repellent applied to exposed skin AND treatment of clothing with permethrin.
Beside the threat of diseases introduced to humans by mosquitoes, the tick and its array of problems are a close second. The tick is, however, the more misunderstood of these groups in that folk lore has played such an important role in establishing our beliefs. Our sources are the preeminent authorities in the field of entomology who assure us that our presentation materials are sound, realistic and based on fact. It’s a pleasure to deal with scientists from such locations as Harvard Medical School of Tropical Diseases, Ohio State University Department of Entomology and Oklahoma State Department of Entomology to name but a few.
“To begin with, ticks don’t fly, jump or blow around with the wind; these suspects are not ticks. They are small, very patient and amazing in their approach to locating their host/prey. Their purpose in life like so many species is to propagate their species. They don’t feed often, but when they do, they can acquire disease agents form one host and pass it to another host at a later feeding. Their sensory organs are complex and they can determine trace amounts of gases, such as carbon dioxide left by warm-blooded animals and man. They can sense the potential host’s presence from long distances and even select their ambush site based upon their ability to identify paths that are well traveled.
Knowing this adversary is important. Understanding the disease potentials they threaten us with and having the capability to identify the basic tick group can help you help your doctor diagnose illness that may be tick initiated.”
Not for the faint hearted! This site contains studies on ticks in the dartmoor area with some excellent close up photography of ticks (fed & unfed) and some pictures taken under the microscope.
One picture shows the following:
“Forty-seven Hedgehog Ticks taken from a sheepdog.
NB – NOT Sheep Ticks! This needs more attention.”
Deer ticks and sheep ticks are not the only problems. Don’t forget that birds, hedgehogs and dogs can carry ticks on your garden too – you don’t need to visit woods to get infected!!
Although this is US based it contains some excellent close up photos of various types if ticks at:
Also contains information relating to ticks, tick research, tick forecasts, tick guidance, lyme disease risk assessment, tick bite prevention, and lyme disease.