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Bush Tick (female)

Haemaphysalis longicornis

Description:

Aka cattle tick and scrub tick. My original ID for this spotting was Australian paralysis tick (ixodes holocyclus), but now seems less likely, although still the same family group "Ixodidae." Thanks for info from fellow member Christine Y. Regardless, this tick was feeding on "me!" I sprayed it with tropical-strength insect repellent and after a short time it pretty-much fell off, so I didn't need to remove it with tweezers. A common species of tick in Eastern Australia, their natural hosts include native animals such as bandicoots, possums, koalas, kangaroos and wallabies, reptiles, etc., but they will also infest livestock, cats and dogs, and people. They can make the host very ill if not detected early and cause paralysis by injecting neurotoxins into the host. They are known to be a disease vector, and can transmit Theileriosis to cattle, and of rick to humans are Lyme spirochetes, spotted fever group rickettsiae, and Ehrlichia chaffeensis and Anaplasma bovis. Regarding Lymes Disease, there is a similar disease found in Australia, but is not recognised as Lymes Disease.

Habitat:

Found this one when I was back in Brisbane, but it was most likely picked it up in the Ballandean area of the Granite Belt, SEQ. They are found in a variety of habitats across the humid coastal regions of eastern Australia, particularly wet sclerophyll forests and temperate rainforest areas. Ticks will usually be found on vegetation such as long grass or the branches of shrubs, and wait for a potential host to brush by.

Notes:

I know this is a female tick because it's only the females that engorge. Males don't engorge. They have very short mouth parts that are more suited to feeding from the female. The male tick does not pose a medical risk to humans or animals, although the presence of a male could also indicate the presence of a female.

No species ID suggestions

21 Comments

Christine Y.
Christine Y. 9 months ago

Excellent Neil, glad you might have the ID and I'm happy to have helped!

Neil Ross
Neil Ross 10 months ago

I think you may be right about this being Haemaphysalis longicornis, Christine. I've just seen a post on facebbok about Australian ticks, and this spotting matches their bush tick spotting.

Neil Ross
Neil Ross 10 months ago

Thanks to all of you - Mark, Daniele, Christine. They may also just be man flu symptoms. I'll do my homework, and also have it checked out.

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 10 months ago

I was just going to say... Ross River to Neil. Leuba and I have both been hit - the weirdest set of symptoms and still hitting many years later.

DanielePralong
DanielePralong 10 months ago

While you're at it Neil, re. your symptoms you may want to be checked for Ross River virus as well... see what your doctor says. Hope you feel better soon!

Christine Y.
Christine Y. 10 months ago

Last thing I'll say, lol, is that even if a tick is fully engorged, infected with a parasite, and is attached to a person for many days, transmission is still not guaranteed to occur. For example, my son was bitten by a deer tick more than a year ago. It was a fully engorged, adult female and was attached for 3-4 days. The tick tested positive for Lyme, but it did not transmit it to him.

Neil Ross
Neil Ross 10 months ago

No, I didn't think to save it. I doubt it was attached to me any longer than 8-10 hours, maybe 12 tops. I write all this down and make mention to my doctor. Co-infections make perfect sense. Thanks again :)

Christine Y.
Christine Y. 10 months ago

You're welcome and I hope you feel better. If you do get a blood test, it would be good if they test for multiple things because ticks frequently have co-infections with more than one parasite. Did you save the tick? If yes, you could send it for testing (this is a free service in the US, but I'm not sure about Australia).

Neil Ross
Neil Ross 10 months ago

Thanks very much. I appreciate your help.

Christine Y.
Christine Y. 10 months ago

I'm not familiar with Aussie ticks, but it could be Haemaphysalis longicornis, which can transmit Lyme. Good idea to get checked out just in case - a simple blood test will do it.

Neil Ross
Neil Ross 10 months ago

It could very well be a different species. My ID accuracy would need to be verified by a professional. However, Lymes Disease-type illness occurs in this country, but it's not recognised here. I've been feeling lethargic with aches and pains for months, and a couple of people have mentioned to me to have it checked out.

Christine Y.
Christine Y. 10 months ago

One thing I was wondering about your tick - are you sure that it's Ixodes holocyclus? Being in the US, I obviously don't have experience with this tick outside of a textbook, but a couple things seem off for it to be this species. First, the 1st and 4th pairs of legs on Ixodes holocyclus are dark brown, while the 2nd and 3rd pairs of legs are lighter in color. Also, the anal groove on your tick should be pear-shaped, but it doesn't appear to be...So, it may be a different species?

Christine Y.
Christine Y. 10 months ago

For Ixodes scapularis, they have to be attached for at least 24 hours, but 36-48 hours is ideal for transmission. But, transmission rates vary with different tick species, life stages, and infections.

Neil Ross
Neil Ross 10 months ago

Christine, how long do they need to be attached until the host enters into the realms of Lymes Disease? Good joke btw, and even funnier that you added (lunatic). for dullards like me :) Jolly lolz haha

Christine Y.
Christine Y. 10 months ago

Fascinating, yet repulsive. This one is completely tanked and must have been attached awhile. Not super funny, but here’s my one tick joke from back when I worked in a tick lab...”What do you call a tick that lives on the moon?” ....”a lunar-tick (lunatic)”...Haha? Or, just funny to tickologists?

Neil Ross
Neil Ross 10 months ago

I like your bug avatar, Mark. I thought you'd be a real fan of this plump lass, although I guess she's not quite a bug, hey?

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 10 months ago

By favouriting this spotting I must add that it has nothing to do with species... or even sub-family. 8-)

Neil Ross
Neil Ross 11 months ago

It wasn't my intention to meet one either, Jim. Destiny, perhaps?

Jim Nelson
Jim Nelson 12 months ago

I like your interesting spotting and photos, Neil. I do not particularly care to meet the paralysis tick, however.

Neil Ross
Neil Ross a year ago

I had one tick when I was a very young lad in Sydney, and that was about it for 45 years. Then, on a recent trip to the Bunya Mtns in SEQ, I had 4 in one day. Litlle bloodsuckers!!! Dettol gets them off, and so does aerogard. Failing everything, I burnt one off with a cigarette.

JamesPriest2
JamesPriest2 a year ago

I remember my Mum getting a tick on the back of her neck when I was about 8 while we were on holidays on the Central Coast NSW. Fortunately it's the only time I've seen one on a human

Brisbane, QLD, Australia

Lat: -27.51, Long: 153.02

Spotted on Jul 30, 2017
Submitted on Aug 5, 2017

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