Castor Bean Tick

Ixodes ricinus

Ixodes ricinus is a chiefly European species of hard-bodied tick. It may reach a length of 11 mm when engorged with a blood meal, and can transmit both bacterial and viral pathogens such as the causative agents of Lyme disease and tick-borne encephalitis.
Ixodes ricinus - Full  Acari,Anactinotrichida,Castor Bean Tick,Ixodes,Ixodes ricinus,Ixodida,Ixodidae,Ixodina,Ixodinae,Jane's garden,Micrura,nl: Schapenteek


In common with other species of "Ixodes", "I. ricinus" has no eyes and is not ornate; it has no festoons. The palpi are longer than they are wide, and there is an anal groove above the anus. It has a hard dorsal shield which covers the entire opisthosoma, but only part of it in females and nymphs. "I. ricinus" is the largest of the three common species of "Ixodes" in the British Isles. Adult males are 2.4–2.8 millimetres long, and unfed nymphs are 1.3–1.5 mm long; females are 3.0–3.6 mm long before feeding and 11 millimetres long when engorged.
Castor Bean Tick questing, Heeswijk-Dinther, Netherlands
A situational shot to display typical behavior. This is an adult female Ixodes ricinus, the most common tick found in the Netherlands. Few ticks make it to adulthood, as they require at least one blood meal for each life stage, which significantly reduces odds. The solution is for the adult female to lay an enormous amount of eggs after her last blood meal, which she is in the process of finding on the photo.

Most tick species are blind, and compensate with a highly sophisticated detection organ that enables it to detect an incoming target from a distance (supposedly by vibration, scent and even the composition of air). This detection in advance is needed for timing the attack. Contrary to popular belief, ticks don't jump, they cross over to their victim by walking, so there has to be a brief moment of direct contact at least.

For a fascinating overview of their entire life cycle, have a look at this excellent video: Castor Bean Tick,Europe,Heeswijk-Dinther,Ixodes ricinus,Netherlands,World


"Ixodes ricinus" is found across Europe and into neighbouring parts of North Africa and the Middle East, extending as far north as Iceland and as far east as parts of Russia. Its northern limit seems to be determined by environmental factors, including temperature, since a series of mild winters in Scandinavia coincided with an expansion northwards in the range of "I. ricinus".

"I. ricinus" is most frequent in habitats where its hosts are plentiful, including woodlands, heaths and forests. It is most prevalent in relatively humid areas, and is absent from much of the Mediterranean Region where summers are dry.
Ixodes ricinus (Linnaeus, 1758) This tick was praying for a prey to come when, all of the sudden, a small Cantharidae (Malthininae) ruined his plan using his hooked leg as a perch to rest.  France,Geotagged,Ixodes ricinus,Spring


"Ixodes ricinus" has a three-host life cycle, which usually takes 2–3 years to complete, although it can take from 1 to 6 years in extreme cases. Adults feed on large mammals such as sheep, cattle, dogs, deer, humans and horses for 6–13 days, before dropping off. An engorged female will lay several thousand eggs and subsequently die. The larvae that hatch do not actively seek a host, and usually feed on insectivores, although they may also find rodents, rabbits, birds, reptiles or bats. They feed for 3–5 days before dropping off and moulting. The resulting nymphs then ascend grasses or twigs to seek their next host, but must return to the moist microclimate at the soil surface if they become dehydrated. The nymphs feed on small to medium-sized mammals.
Common Sheep Tick (Ixodes Ricinus) It took me a short while to work out what I was looking at, having spotted this '8-legged, but clearly not a spider' individual on one of my regular searches of nearby metal fencing, I've mentioned before.

When it dawned on me, there was a little instinctive shiver because let's face it, ticks have a distinctly dodgy image problem and I would never recommend cuddling one.

However, they have their lives to lead, and to read how they lead them, head to this video on YouTube:                       Castor Bean Tick,Geotagged,Ixodes ricinus,United Kingdom,Winter


The scientific name of the castor bean tick dates back to the starting point of zoological nomenclature, the 1758 tenth edition of Carl Linnaeus' "Systema Naturae", where it appeared as "Acarus ricinus". Pierre André Latreille split the new genus "Ixodes" from Linnaeus' "Acarus", and "I. ricinus" was chosen as the type species. It has subsequently been redescribed under a number of junior synonyms and subsequent combinations into different genera; these synonyms include "Acarus ricinoides", "Cynorhaestes reduvius", "Cynorhaestes ricinus", "Ixodes megathyreus", "Ixodes bipunctatus", "Cynorhaestes hermanni", "Crotonus ricinus", "Ixodes trabeatus", "Ixodes plumbeus", "Ixodes reduvius", "Ixodes pustularum", "Ixodes fodiens", "Ixodes rufus", "Ixodes sulcatus" and "Ixodes sciuri".


Some text fragments are auto parsed from Wikipedia.

SpeciesI. ricinus