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Texas Invasive Species Institute

Texas Invasive Species Institute

Brown Dog Tick

Rhipicephalus sanguineus

Class: Arachnida
Order: Ixodida
Family: Ixodidae

Rhipicephalus sanguineus

Photographer:Mat Pound Affiliation:USDA Agricultural Research Service Source:www.bugwood.org Copyright: CC BY 3.0


Adult Description: The adult brown dog tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus) is small and red brown in color and lacks ornamentation on the body. It can be recognized by its elongate body and hexagonal capituli. Only one other species (Cattle Tick) has the same hexagonal capituli which has been eradicated.

Larva Description: Females crawl upward on a substrate to lay eggs. The eggs hatch between 19-60 days, and a small larvae with 6 legs emerges with blue/gray coloring. The larvae can survive for 8 months without water or blood. After attaching to a host and feeding, it detaches and seeks shelter where it will molt and become a red/brown nymph with 8 legs.

Host Animal: Rhipicephalus sanguineus parasitizes dogs and other available mammals depending on the region.

Ecological Threat

Rhipicephalus sanguineus can cause skin irritation and disease among dogs and rapidly infest homes if not treated. At this time the brown dog tick is not known to carry Lyme disease or diseases that are regularly transmitted to humans; but in higher temperatures ticks attach and feed on humans more rapidly. In dogs, however, it transmits canine ehrlichiosis and canine babesia. Only a few rare cases are known of these diseases being transmitted to humans.


The brown dog tick can feed on mammals at any life cycle stage. Female Brown Dog Ticks can lay up to 5,000 eggs in one brood depending on the amount of blood taken from the host. The female typically attaches to the host for about a week before dropping off to find a place to lay eggs. Cracks in the ceiling are ideal places. The entire life cycle can also be completed indoors.


The history of R. sanguineus can be traced back to early mammals and dogs, and is believed to have spread to the United States with the first colonizations of North America.

Native Origin

The specific native origin of R. sanguineus is not clear. The Brown Dog Tick needs mammals to sustain life so it has been recorded in many locations in history.

Current Location

U.S. Habitat: Rhipicephalus sanguineus is found most commonly parasitizing dogs, but can also be found on wildlife and other mammals including humans.


U.S. Present: The Brown Dog Tick is found worldwide, but typically located in warmer climates


Cattle tick


Recommended management of the brown dog tick or any tick species is prevention through regular treatments with shampoo or collars accompanied with regular checking of the pet for infestation. Treatment upon infestation should be discussed with a vet. Treatments with fipronil, amitraz, permethrin, and deltamethrin have been reported to be effective.



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Dantas-Torres, F. (2008. The brown dog tick, Rhipicephalus sanguineus (Latreille, 1806)(Acari: Ixodidae): From taxonomy to control. Veterinary parasitology, 152(3), 173-185.

Mallis, A. "Handbook of Pest Control". Franzak & Forester Company, Cleveland, Ohio. 1982

Smith, Eric H. and Richard C. Whitman. 1992. NPCA Field Guide to Structural Pests. NPCA.

Internet Sources


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