Ticks & Mites

              Class : Arachnida
Subclass : Acari

The Acari are a diverse group of generally tiny species with most being less than 1mm in length, although some ticks can reach up to 20mm in size. There are currently about 50000 species described, but this is considered to be only a tiny fraction of the true number of species alive today.

Superorder: Acariformes

The Acariformes are a diverse group of mites that includes velvet mites, plant parasitic mites, chiggers and dust mites.

Red Velvet Mite (Order Trombidiformes: Eutrombidium rostratus) - Anglesey, Wales - March 2009

Order: Trombidiformes - Anglesey, Wales - March 2009


Superorder: Parasitiformes

These are mostly parasitic species, the most well known of which are the ticks.

Sheep Tick (Ixodidae : Ixodes ricinus) - Wirral, England - May 2009

Most ticks are haematophagous, living entirely on the blood of vertebrate animals. During feeding they attach themselves to their host by embedding their heads into the skin of their victim, and over the course of several days engorge themselves to such a degree that the abdomen of a fully fed tick is expanded to several times its normal size. The fully-fed tick in the photos here is about the size of a garden pea and was found, and extracted from, the ear of a domestic cat.

Sheep Tick (Ixodidae : Ixodes ricinus) - Wirral, England - May 2009

Some ticks transmit bacterial and viral diseases to their vertebrate hosts and more photos and information about these can be found in the tick page of vectors of human disease gallery.