Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Boophilus microplus



Boophilus microplus


  • Last modified
  • 22 November 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Vector of Animal Disease
  • Host Animal
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Boophilus microplus
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Metazoa
  •     Phylum: Arthropoda
  •       Subphylum: Chelicerata
  •         Class: Arachnida
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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

EPPO code

  • BOOPMI (Boophilus microplus)

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Metazoa
  •         Phylum: Arthropoda
  •             Subphylum: Chelicerata
  •                 Class: Arachnida
  •                     Subclass: Acari
  •                         Order: Parasitiformes
  •                             Suborder: Ixodida
  •                                 Family: Ixodidae
  •                                     Genus: Boophilus
  •                                         Species: Boophilus microplus


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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 Table

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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
Continent/Country/Region Distribution Last Reported Origin First Reported Invasive Reference Notes


EswatiniPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
EthiopiaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
GhanaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
KenyaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
LibyaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
MadagascarPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
MalawiPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
MozambiquePresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
South AfricaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
TanzaniaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
ZambiaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
ZimbabwePresentCABI Data Mining (2001)


BangladeshPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
ChinaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-GuangdongPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-TibetPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
IndiaPresentCABI Data Mining (Undated)
-AssamPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-DelhiPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-Jammu and KashmirPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-KarnatakaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-MaharashtraPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-OdishaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-PunjabPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-Tamil NaduPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-Uttar PradeshPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
IndonesiaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
JapanPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
MalaysiaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
PakistanPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
PhilippinesPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
South KoreaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
ThailandPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)


GermanyPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
SpainPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)

North America

AnguillaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
Antigua and BarbudaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
BarbadosPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
Costa RicaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
CubaPresentCABI Data Mining (Undated)
DominicaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
Dominican RepublicPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
El SalvadorPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
GuadeloupePresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
GuatemalaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
HondurasPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
JamaicaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
MartiniquePresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
MexicoPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
MontserratPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
NicaraguaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
PanamaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
Puerto RicoPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
Saint Kitts and NevisPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
Saint LuciaPresentIntroducedInvasiveGovernment of Saint Lucia (2012)
Trinidad and TobagoPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
U.S. Virgin IslandsPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
United StatesPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-TexasPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)


AustraliaPresentCABI Data Mining (Undated)
-New South WalesPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-QueenslandPresentCABI Data Mining (Undated)
New CaledoniaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
Papua New GuineaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
VanuatuPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)

South America

ArgentinaPresentCABI Data Mining (Undated)
BoliviaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
BrazilPresentCABI Data Mining (Undated)
-Minas GeraisPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-Rio de JaneiroPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-Rio Grande do SulPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-Sao PauloPresentCABI Data Mining (Undated)
ColombiaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
ParaguayPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
PeruPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
UruguayPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
VenezuelaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)

Hosts/Species Affected

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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).

List of Symptoms/Signs

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SignLife StagesType
General Signs / Weight loss Cattle & Buffaloes:All Stages Sign
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Parasite visible, skin, hair, feathers Cattle & Buffaloes:All Stages Diagnosis

Economic Impact

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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.


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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).


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Aguirre DH; Cafrune MM; Guglielmone AA, 2000. Experimental infestation of llamas (Lama glama) with Boophilus microplus (Acari: Ixodidae). Experimental & Applied Acarology, 24(8):661-664; 13 ref.

Angus BM, 1996. The history of the cattle tick Boophilus microplus in Australia and achievements in its control. International Journal for Parasitology, 26(12):1341-1355; 5 pp. of ref.

Anonymous, 1984. Ticks and Tick-borne Disease control. A practical field manual. Volume 1, Rome, Italy: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Evans DE, 1992. Tick infestation of livestock and tick control methods in Brazil: a situation report. Insect Science and its Application, 13(4):629-643; 61 ref.

Government of Saint Lucia, 2012. Dengue Fever Alert - Fight the Aedes 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.

Heyne H, 1986. Differentiation of Boophilus decoloratus and Boophilus microplus.. Journal of the South African Veterinary Association, 57(4):251-252; [4 fig.].

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; Fivaz BH, 1992. A survey of cattle tick control practices in the eastern Cape Province of South Africa. Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research, 59(3):203-210; 5 ref.

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.

Willadsen P; Kemp DH, 1988. Vaccination with 'concealed' antigens for tick control. Parasitology Today, 4(7):196-198; 19 ref.

Distribution References

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!,!.htm

Links to Websites

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International Consortium on Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases (ICTTD-2)

Distribution Maps

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