Castor Bean Tick


Life Cycle

One generation of Ixodes ricinus will take at least 1½ years, more often 2-3 years and seldom 4-5 years. Each life cycle stage (larva, nymph and adult) is able to survive at least 1 year if unengorged (Eckert et al., 2008).

Blood feeding occurs once in each stage and for a period between days (2-3 days for larvae, up to 5 days for nymphs) to weeks (1 week for adult females, seldom 2-3 weeks). Digestion of the blood meal and development to the next stage occurs whilst hidden deep in the vegetation.

The larvae hatch from an egg batch of about 3000 and after a few days are ready to feed. The six-legged larvae climb the vegetation and wait for a passing host, usually a mouse or vole. After 2 or 3 days feeding, during which they increase their weight 10-20 times, they drop off into the vegetation and commence development.

After several months the fed larva molts to an 8-legged 1.5-2 mm nymph that usually feeds in the following year for 4-5 days.

Figure 1: Nymph of the Castor bean tick.

Finally, the adult female tick, about 4 mm long when unfed, parasitizes a larger animal (often deer or livestock, but also dogs and humans) on which they feed for about 7 days, taking up to 5 ml of blood and growing to the size of a small bean.

Figure 2: Adult female Castor bean tick.

The male tick stays on the host for longer periods in order to mate with females while taking no blood meal.

Figure 3: Adult male Castor bean tick.


Further information

  • Eckert J, Friedhoff KT, Zahner H, et al.: [Subphylum Amandibulata.] In: Eckert J, Friedhoff KT, Zahner H, et al. (eds.): Lehrbuch der Parasitologie für die Tiermedizin. 2nd edn., 2008, Enke in MVS, Stuttgart, pp 375-434 [in German]


Occurrence Maps

Each country has its specific occurrence of CVBDs depending on climate and endemic vectors. See the maps

Clinical Sessions

The following authentic case reports provide insights into selected CVBD cases

View all

Interesting Links

CVBD and parasito­logical relevant websites. More...

CVBD Digest Articles

Findings from the CVBD symposia. More...