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PicturesTop of page
OverviewTop of page
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.
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Boophilus decoloratus (Koch, 1844)
International Common Names
- English: African blue tick; blue tick; tick, African blue; tick, blue
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 decoloratus
Host AnimalsTop of page
|Animal name||Context||Life stage||System|
|Aepyceros melampus||Wild host|
|Bos indicus (zebu)||Domesticated host||Cattle & Buffaloes: All Stages|
|Bos taurus (cattle)||Domesticated host||Cattle & Buffaloes: All Stages|
|Bubalus bubalis (Asian water buffalo)|
|Canis familiaris (dogs)|
|Capra hircus (goats)||Domesticated host|
|Ovis aries (sheep)||Domesticated host|
|Tragelaphus oryx||Wild host|
|Tragelaphus strepsiceros||Wild host|
Hosts/Species AffectedTop of page
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).
Pathogens VectoredTop of page Anaplasma centrale
Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus
DistributionTop of page
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Africa it is distributed throughout most of the wetter regions of the country, except for those regions in which it has been replaced by B. microplus.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 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
ReferencesTop of page
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.
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; Malan JR, 1978. Genetic incompatibility between Boophilus decoloratus and Boophilus microplus (Acarina: Ixodidae). Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research, 45:149-153.
CABI Data Mining, 2001. CAB Abstracts Data Mining.,
CABI, Undated. CABI Compendium: Status inferred from regional distribution. Wallingford, UK: CABI
Distribution MapsTop of page
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