Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Boophilus decoloratus



Boophilus decoloratus


  • Last modified
  • 10 December 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Vector of Animal Disease
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Boophilus decoloratus
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Metazoa
  •     Phylum: Arthropoda
  •       Subphylum: Chelicerata
  •         Class: Arachnida

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Boophilus decoloratus adult
CaptionBoophilus decoloratus adult
Copyright©John W. McGarry
Boophilus decoloratus adult
AdultBoophilus decoloratus adult©John W. McGarry


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Boophilus ticks are small inornate ticks with a short and broad capitulum with rounded lateral margins. The basis of the capitulum is hexagonal in shape. Males bear elongated, pointed anal and adanal shields. The eyes are difficult to see and festoons are absent. Boophilus ticks are parasites of ungulates and have a compressed life-cycle with all stages parasitic on the same host (one-host tick), and are among the most important pests and disease vectors affecting livestock. The genus includes five species. Boophilus decoloratus is widespread in Africa south of the Sahara, Libya, Yemen and India.


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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Boophilus decoloratus (Koch, 1844)

International Common Names

  • English: African blue tick; blue tick; tick, African blue; tick, blue

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 decoloratus

Hosts/Species Affected

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B. decoloratus has a much wider host range than B. microplus. In addition to cattle, B. decoloratus frequently parasitizes horses, donkeys, sheep and goats, and is commonly found on several wild ungulates including impala (Aepyceros melampus), kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros), eland (Taurotragus oryx) and sable (Hippotragus niger) (Spickett and Fivaz, 1992; Norval, 1994).


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B. decoloratus is widespread in sub-Saharan Africa. In South Africa it is distributed throughout most of the wetter regions of the country, except for those regions in which it has been replaced by B. microplus. The tick occurs in parts of Namibia and Botswana, and is also present in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Angola, Zambia, Malawi, parts of Tanzania, Burundi, Uganda, western Kenya and in the wetter highlands of Ethiopia. It is also found in parts of West Africa, such as Mali and Senegal (Mason and Norval, 1980; FAO, 1984; Matthysse and Colbo, 1987; Norval, 1994).

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


AngolaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
BotswanaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
BurundiPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
CameroonPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
Central African RepublicPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
Congo, Democratic Republic of thePresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
Congo, Republic of thePresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
EgyptPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
EswatiniPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
EthiopiaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
GambiaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
GhanaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
KenyaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
LibyaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
MalawiPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
MaliPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
MauritaniaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
MozambiquePresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
NamibiaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
NigeriaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
São Tomé and PríncipePresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
SenegalPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
SomaliaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
South AfricaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
SudanPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
TanzaniaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
UgandaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
ZambiaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
ZimbabwePresentCABI Data Mining (2001)


BangladeshPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
IndiaPresentCABI (Undated)Present based on regional distribution.
-Jammu and KashmirPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
Saudi ArabiaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)


AustraliaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-QueenslandPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)


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Akinboade OA; Dipeolu OO, 1985. Bovine babesiosis in Nigeria: the vectorial capability of Boophilus decoloratus and Boophilus geigyi for Babesia bigemina and Babesia bovis.. Acarologia, 26(3):235-237; [1 fig.]; 10 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.

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.

Norval RAI, 1994. Vectors; Ticks. In: Coetzer JAW, Thomson GR, Tustin RC, eds. Infectious Diseases of Livestock with special reference to Southern Africa. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 1-24.

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.

Distribution References

CABI Data Mining, 2001. CAB Abstracts Data Mining.,

CABI, Undated. CABI Compendium: Status inferred from regional distribution. Wallingford, UK: CABI

Distribution Maps

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