Ticks in Australia

Ticks are bloodsucking, external parasites that are often encountered by people during activities in the Australian bush.

There are many species known to attack humans and so samples should be referred to our expert laboratory for proper identification.

Over the last twelve years, the Department of Medical Entomology, ICPMR has been at the forefront of research into ticks and tick-borne disease, and has been the leading health authority for the provision of information on the ecology and control of this important public health pest.

  • Paralysis Tick

    Paralysis Tick
    (Ixodes holocyclus)


    • Flattened from top to bottom, overall oval, seed shaped body
    • Can be found in a variety of habitats across the humid coastal regions of eastern Australia, particularly wet sclerophyll forests and temperate rainforest areas
    • Bandicoots are common hosts as are many mammals, birds and sometimes reptiles
    • Domestic animals are frequently infested
    • Paralysis Tick bites initially cause local itchiness and a hard lump at the site of the bite with other more serious symptoms presenting themselves over number of days whilst the tick engorges itself
  • Brown Dog Tick

    Brown Dog Tick
    (Rhipicephalus sanguineus)


    • Are not life threatening but can develop into an irritating skin condition when in large numbers
    • The tick embeds its mouthparts into the skin and feeds on blood and lymph, until its engorged
    • Blood loss can cause anaemia, and dogs can become listless
    • Ticks are excellent survivors, they lay large numbers of eggs and each stage can survive several months without feeding