Dermacentor spp

From Cow
Adult female Dermacentor variabilis

Dermacentor spp ticks are a skin parasite of cattle in tropical and temperate regions worldwide[1].

As well as causing 'tick worry' and skin disease, these ticks are vectors for Rickettsia spp, Anaplasma spp, Babesia spp, Francisella tularensis (Tularaemia), Q fever, sawgrass virus and Powassan virus.

Species which parasitise cattle include:

  • D. nitens (formerly Anocentor nitens) - horse tick
  • D. albipictus - winter tick
  • D. dissimilis
  • D. andersoni[2] - Rocky Mountain wood tick
  • D. variabilis[3] - American dog tick
  • D. occidentalis
  • D. parumapterus, D. hunteri and D. halli - nonpathogenic
  • D. marginatus[4], D. reticulatus[5][6] and D. silvarum - Eurasia steppes

Control of this parasite is usually effective with topical acaricides such as ivermectin, doramectin and fipronil[7].

Commercially available synthetic acaricides are commonly used, but indiscriminate practices in their application have resulted in the rapid evolution of resistance[8]. Although single acaricide treatment can destroy all of the ticks on an animal, they will not prevent reinfestation.

The infested pasture must remain free of all livestock for 6 to 9 months or longer, to break the tick life cycle.


  1. Niu Q et al (2012) Detection and differentiation of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato in ticks collected from sheep and cattle in China. BMC Vet Res 7:17
  2. Dergousoff SJ & Chilton NB (2011) Novel genotypes of Anaplasma bovis, "Candidatus Midichloria" sp. and Ignatzschineria sp. in the Rocky Mountain wood tick, Dermacentor andersoni. Vet Microbiol 150(1-2):100-106
  3. Miller RJ et al (2011) Efficacy of spinosad against acaricide-resistant and -susceptible Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus and acaricide-susceptible Amblyomma americanum and Dermacentor variabilis. J Med Entomol 48(2):358-365
  4. Bakirci S et al (2012) Distribution and seasonal activity of tick species on cattle in the West Aegean region of Turkey. Exp Appl Acarol 56(2):165-178
  5. Nowak M et al (2011) Discovery of Dermacentor reticulatus (Acari: Amblyommidae) populations in the Lubuskie Province (Western Poland). Exp Appl Acarol 54(2):191-197
  6. Domínguez-Peñafiel G et al (2011) Prevalence of ectoparasitic arthropods on wild animals and cattle in the Las Merindades area (Burgos, Spain). Parasite 18(3):251-260
  7. Kiss T et al (2012) Tick prevention at a crossroad: new and renewed solutions. Vet Parasitol 187(3-4):357-66
  8. Veiga LP et al (2012) Resistance to cypermethrin and amitraz in Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus on the Santa Catarina Plateau, Brazil. Rev Bras Parasitol Vet 21(2):133-136