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IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Boophilus microplus (Canestrini, 1888)
Other Scientific Names
- Haemaphysalis microplus
- Margaropus microplus
- Rhipicephalus microplus (Canestrini, 1888) Canestrini, 1890
International Common Names
- English: Asian blue tick; cattle tick; cattle, tick; cattle, tick, southern; pantropical cattle tick; southern cattle tick; tick, Asian blue; tick, cattle; tick, southern cattle
Local Common Names
- Saint Lucia: tick savaan
- BOOPMI (Boophilus microplus)
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Metazoa
- Phylum: Arthropoda
- Subphylum: Chelicerata
- Class: Arachnida
- Subclass: Acari
- Order: Parasitiformes
- Suborder: Ixodida
- Family: Ixodidae
- Genus: Boophilus
- Species: Boophilus microplus
DistributionTop of page
B. microplus is originally from Asia and has been distributed, mainly with cattle, to all continents. The tick occurs in South and Central America, including Mexico, and is a major problem in Brazil (Evans, 1992). It occurs in much of southern Asia and also in China. The tick was introduced into East and South Africa from Madagascar, where it had originally arrived with cattle from southern Asia. In South Africa it is now established in scattered areas along the southern and eastern costs of the Western and Eastern Cape Provinces and of KwaZulu-Natal (Spicket and Fivaz, 1992). B. microplus is also present in the coastal regions of Mozambique, Kenya and Tanzania. The tick is spreading westwards in parts of southern (Zambia, Zimbabwe) and East Africa. B. microplus is the predominant tick in Australia (Angus, 1996).
Distribution TableTop of page
The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.Last updated: 10 Jan 2020
Hosts/Species AffectedTop of page
B. microplus is a parasite of cattle. Other livestock species and wild ungulates are rarely parasitized (Mason and Norval, 1980; Mathhysse and Colbo, 1987). Interestingly, in Argentina, llamas (Lama glama) proved to be able to sustain a population of B. microplus under experimental conditions and could play a role as a reservoir host under field conditions (Aguirre et al., 2000).
Host AnimalsTop of page
List of Symptoms/SignsTop of page
|General Signs / Weight loss||Cattle & Buffaloes:All Stages||Sign|
|Skin / Integumentary Signs / Parasite visible, skin, hair, feathers||Cattle & Buffaloes:All Stages||Diagnosis|
Species VectoredTop of page Anaplasma centrale
bovine leukemia virus
Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus
Rift Valley fever virus
Trypanosoma brucei brucei
Economic ImpactTop of page
The economic importance of B. microplus is high. For instance, Australia alone suffers an estimated Australian $100-150 million dollars per year in lost cattle production and the costs of tick control (Willadsen and Kemp, 1988). B. microplus is increasingly difficult to control as a result of the development of acaricide resistance, mainly to organophosphates and synthetic pyrethroids. Long-term exposure has generated acaricide resistance in numerous Boophilus populations in Australia, Latin America and South Africa (Harris et al., 1988; Spickett and Fivaz, 1992; Angus, 1996).
Additionally, the indirect impact of B. microplus is because of its capacity to transmit bovine babesiosis (Babesia bovis and Babesia bigemina) and also Anaplasma marginale between cattle, causing significant losses in livestock production throughout the world.
DiagnosisTop of page
Taxonomic identification of B. microplus is usually not very difficult. Boophilus ticks are small, inornate and have short mouthparts. B. microplus can be differentiated from B. decoloratus by the dentition on the hypostome. B. microplus has two columns each consisting of numerous rows each of which comprises four denticles. The dentition on the hypostome of B. decoloratus is arranged in two columns each consisting of numerous rows each of which comprises three denticles.
The inner margin of the first segment of the palps of B. microplus is concave and bears no bristle, whereas B. decoloratus has a bristle-bearing protuberance on the internal margin of the first segment of each palp (Heyne, 1986).
ReferencesTop of page
Anonymous, 1984. Ticks and Tick-borne Disease control. A practical field manual. Volume 1, Rome, Italy: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Government of Saint Lucia, 2012. Dengue Fever Alert - Fight the Aedes aegypti Mosquito!. http://www.stlucia.gov.lc/agencies/health/alerts/dengue_fever_alert_-_fight_the_ades_aegypti_mosquito!.htm
Harris RL; George JE; Ahrens EH; Davey RB; Bazan HO, 1988. Selection for resistance to coumaphos in a strain of southern cattle tick (Acari:Ixodidae). Journal of Economic Entomology, 81:545-548.
Mason CA; Norval RAI, 1980. The ticks for Zimbabwe. 1. The genus Boophilus. Zimbabwe Veterinary Journal, 11:36-43.
Matthysse JG; Colbo MH, 1987. The ixodid ticks of Uganda. College Park, Maryland, USA: Entomological Society of America, 426 pp.
Redondo M; Fragoso H; Ortíz M; Montero C; Lona J; Medellín JA; Fría R; Hernández V; Franco R; Machado H; Rodríguez M; Fuente Jde la, 1999. Integrated control of acaricide-resistant Boophilus microplus populations on grazing cattle in Mexico using vaccination with Gavac and amidine treatments. Experimental & Applied Acarology, 23(10):841-849; 16 ref.
Rodriquez M; Massard C; Henrique da Fonseca A; Fonseca RN; Machado H; Labarta V; De La Fuente J, 1995. Effect of vaccination with a recombinant Bm86 antigen preparation on natural infestations of Boophilus microplus in grazing dairy and cross-bred cattle in Brazil. Vaccine, 13:1804-1808.
Spickett AM; Malan JR, 1978. Genetic incompatibility between Boophilus decoloratus and Boophilus microplus (Acarina: Ixodidae). Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research, 45:149-153.
Willadsen P; Bird P; Cobon GS; Hungerford J, 1995. Commercialisation of a recombinant vaccine against Boophilus microplus. Parasitology, 110(Supplement):S43-S50; [Symposia of the British Society for Parasitology, Volume 32]; 33 ref.
CABI Data Mining, 2001. CAB Abstracts Data Mining.,
CABI Data Mining, Undated. CAB Abstracts Data Mining.,
Government of Saint Lucia, 2012. Dengue Fever Alert - Fight the Aedes aegypti Mosquito!, http://www.stlucia.gov.lc/agencies/health/alerts/dengue_fever_alert_-_fight_the_ades_aegypti_mosquito!.htm
Distribution MapsTop of page
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