Ticks are a group of ectoparasitic arachnids. Ticks feed on the blood of vertebrates including mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians. Ticks feed on vertebrate blood before leaving the host, moulting and then finding a different host. Adult female ticks need a blood meal before they can reproduce.

There are two families of ticks, the Ixodidae (hard ticks), and Argasidae (soft ticks).

The feeding activities of ticks mean they take blood meals from different host animals throughout their lifespan. This also means that ticks are important vectors of blood-borne diseases.

A photograph of an adult female dog tick, _Dermacentor variabilis_.

A photograph of an adult female dog tick, Dermacentor variabilis.
Photograph by Gary Alpert licensed under Creative Commons.

Other names for (or types of) Tick include:

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