Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Amblyomma hebraeum



Amblyomma hebraeum


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

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Adult A. hebraeum female.
CaptionAdult A. hebraeum female.
Copyright©John W. McGarry
Adult A. hebraeum female.
AdultAdult A. hebraeum female.©John W. McGarry
Amblyomma hebraeum: male.
CaptionAmblyomma hebraeum: male.
Copyright©Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research. With permission of the editor.
Amblyomma hebraeum: male.
VectorAmblyomma hebraeum: male.©Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research. With permission of the editor.
Amblyomma hebraeum: female.
CaptionAmblyomma hebraeum: female.
Copyright©Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research. With permission of the editor.
Amblyomma hebraeum: female.
VectorAmblyomma hebraeum: female.©Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research. With permission of the editor.


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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Amblyomma hebraeum Koch, 1844

International Common Names

  • English: bont tick; South African bont tick; tick, bont; tick, South African bont

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: Amblyomma
  •                                         Species: Amblyomma hebraeum


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A. hebraeum is largely restricted in its distribution to southern Africa, though it can occur as far north as Tanzania. It is commonest in the warm, moist coastal areas of the eastern cape and Natal, South Africa and in southern Mozambique and parts of Swaziland. North of the river except in Mozambique, A. hebraeum is replaced by A. variegatum. A. hebraeum is absent from the highveld areas of South Africa and Zimbabwe (Norval, 1983; Peter et al., 1998). In central Botswana, the distribution of A. hebraeum is limited by increasing aridity and in northern Zimbabwe the tick is replaced by A. variegatum.

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


BotswanaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
EswatiniPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
MozambiquePresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
NamibiaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
South AfricaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
ZimbabwePresentCABI Data Mining (2001)

Hosts/Species Affected

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A. hebraeum feeds on domestic ruminants (cattle, sheep and goats) and also on a large variety of wild ungulates. The adult ticks attach in clusters in the groin and axillae, and also on the dewlap, belly, udder, perineum and perianal region. The larval and nymphal stages feed on a wide variety of small and large mammals, but also on birds and even reptiles such as tortoises. On domestic livestock, nymphs attach almost exclusively to the feet, and larvae to the face, dewlap, neck and legs.

List of Symptoms/Signs

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SignLife StagesType
General Signs / Pale mucous membranes or skin, anemia Cattle & Buffaloes:All Stages,Sheep & Goats:All Stages Sign
General Signs / Weight loss Cattle & Buffaloes:All Stages Sign
Reproductive Signs / Mastitis, abnormal milk Cattle & Buffaloes:Heifer,Cattle & Buffaloes:Cow Sign
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Parasite visible, skin, hair, feathers Cattle & Buffaloes:All Stages,Sheep & Goats:All Stages Diagnosis
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Pruritus, itching skin Cattle & Buffaloes:All Stages,Sheep & Goats:All Stages Sign

Economic Impact

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Amblyomma spp. are vectors of a limited number of important pathogens of animals and man, but some of these agents cause very serious diseases, such as heartwater (Cowdriaruminantium) infection of ruminants). Larvae of A. hebraeum are also aggressive towards man and attack in large numbers on the legs and about the waist, causing intense irritation, rashes and occasionally pustules. Nymphs are also frequently encountered on humans, including tourists visiting selected parts of South Africa and Zimbabwe (Estrada-Pena and Jongejan, 1999). As a result, people bitten by nymphs of A. hebraeum may develop tick-bite fever, caused by Rickettsiaafricae (Kelly et al., 1994). Feeding of large numbers of nymphs on the feet of small ruminants can create lameness.


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Identification of adult A. hebraeum males and females is easy (see Overview) but nymphs and larvae are easily confused with A. variegatum.

Prevention and Control

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Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.

Because adult A. hebraeum have long feeding periods, good tick control can be achieved by treatment of cattle at 2-week intervals with conventional acaricides. A foot bath for small ruminants is very effective in controlling nymphs of A. hebraeum. As the ticks predominantly attach to the undersides of cattle, control can be achieved by localized acaricide application. Control of A. hebraeum will be required when large clusters of adults occur on cattle. Such clusters form potential sites for strike by screw-worm (Chrysomyabezziana). Acaricidal footbaths are an effective measure for controlling nymphal populations of Amblyomma on goats.

Vaccines are not available.


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Estrada-Pena A; Jongejan F, 1999. Ticks feeding on humans: a review of records on human-biting Ixodoidea with special reference to pathogen transmission. Experimental and Applied Acarology, 23:685-715.

Horak IG; Potgieter FT; Walker JB; Vos Vde; Boomker J, 1983. The ixodid tick burdens of various large ruminant species in South African nature reserves. Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research, 50(3):221-228; 17 ref.

Kelly PJ; Beati L; Matthewman LA; Mason PR; Dasch GA; Raoult D, 1994. A new pathogenic spotted fever group Rickettsia from Africa. Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 97(3):129-137; 39 ref.

Norval RAI, 1977. Ecology of the tick Amblyomma hebraeum Koch in the eastern Cape Province of South Africa. 1. Distribution and seasonal activity. Journal of Parasitology, 63:734-739.

Norval RAI, 1983. The ticks of Zimbabwe. VII. The genus Amblyomma.. Zimbabwe Veterinary Journal, 14(1/4):3, 6-18; [5 fig.]; 48 ref.

Norval RAI; Floyd RB; Kerr JD, 1988. Ability of adults of Amblyomma hebraeum (Acarina: Ixodidae) to feed repeatedly on sheep and cattle. Veterinary Parasitology, 29(4):351-355; 12 ref.

Peter TF; Perry BD; O'Callaghan CJ; Medley GF; Shumba W; Madzima W; Burridge MJ; Mahan SM, 1998. Distributions of the vectors of heartwater, Amblyomma hebraeum and Amblyomma variegatum (Acari: Ixodidae), in Zimbabwe. Experimental & Applied Acarology, 22(12):725-740; 30 ref.

Rechav Y, 1982. Dynamics of tick populations (Acari: Ixodidae) in the eastern Cape Province of South Africa. Journal of Medical Entomology, 19:679-700.

Rechav Y; Dauth J; Els DA, 1990. Resistance of Brahman and Simmentaler cattle to southern African ticks. Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research, 57(1):7-12; 28 ref.

Walker JB; Olwage A, 1987. The tick vectors of Cowdria ruminantium (Ixodoidea, Ixodidae, genus Amblyomma) and their distribution. Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research, 54(3):353-379; 59 ref.

Distribution References

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

Links to Websites

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

Distribution Maps

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