Rhipicephalus spp

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Adult Rhipicephalus microplus tick
Adult cow infected with R. sanguineus ticks

Rhipicephalus spp are a tick parasite of cattle worldwide.

As well as being a cause of anaemia and hide damage, these ticks also transmit Theileria spp, Trypanosoma spp, Anaplasma marginale and Babesia bovis as well as certain viruses such as Bunyavirus, Kajiado, Kismayo, Dugbe and Barur viruses.

Species of importance to cattle include:

  • Rhipicephalus microplus (formerly Boophilus microplus) - worldwide
  • R. sanguineus - worldwide
  • R. punctatus - Zimbabwe, South Africa
  • R. evertsi - East Africa
  • R. australis (formerly R. microplus Canestrini)[1]
  • R. pravus - East and Southern Africa
  • R. decoloratus - southern Africa to the Sahara
  • R. glabroscutatum - East Africa
  • R. annulatus - Russia, Middle East, Mediterranean
  • R. capensis - Namibia, South Africa
  • R. compositus - East Africa
  • R. gertrudae - Namibia and South Africa
  • R. longus - East Africa
  • R. hurti - East Africa, Zaire
  • R. jeanelli - East Africa
  • R. simus - Central and South Africa
  • R. praetextatus - Tanzania, Egypt

The life cycle of these ticks typically have between one and three hosts, depending on the climate.


Control of this parasite is usually effective with topical acaricides such as ivermectin, doramectin and fipronil[2]. Commercially available synthetic acaricides are commonly used, but indiscriminate practices in their application have resulted in the rapid evolution of resistance[3]. 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.

The Bm86-based recombinant vaccine Gavac has been successfully used in a number of controlled laboratory and field trials in cattle against R. microplus[4].


  1. Estrada-Peña A et al (2012) Reinstatement of Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) australis (Acari: Ixodidae) with redescription of the adult and larval stages. J Med Entomol 49(4)794-802
  2. Kiss T et al (2012) Tick prevention at a crossroad: new and renewed solutions. Vet Parasitol 187(3-4):357-66
  3. 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
  4. Valle MR et al (2004) Integrated control of Boophilus microplus ticks in Cuba based on vaccination with the anti-tick vaccine Gavac. Exp Appl Acarol 34(3-4):375-382