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Ticks of veterinary importance/Differential diagnosis??

Photos, distribution maps, importance and hosts of all ticks described below and of other ticks of veterinary and human importance can be found online at: http://www.itg.be/photodatabase/African_ticks_files/index.html or offline in the Tick database.

A holistic approach should be followed in the identification of ticks. Thus besides the morphological features that we make use of to identify ticks to species level, we also make use of their ecological requirements to assist with an accurate diagnosis. Consequently the geographic locality at which they were collected, the hosts from which they were collected, the body site on the host from which they were collected, and the season of the year during which they were collected are all important aids. Ideally anyone who sends in ticks for identification should supply all this information. Perhaps most important of all is that male ticks must be included in any collection sent for identification as they have more distinct taxonomic features that can be recognized than the females. Even more importantly a label containing all the important collection data and written in pencil should be included with the ticks inside the vial or tube or bottle in which the ticks have been placed. If an outside label is pasted onto the container it must be written in pencil, ball point writing dissolves the moment the alcohol used for tick preservation spills onto it.

Besides the ticks whose common names are derived from their colour, farmers and researchers have also named ticks according to the geographic locality in which they are present, or the season during which they occur, or the condition they may cause, or the host on which they may feed or where they attach. Thus we have the Karoo paralysis tick, the winter horse tick, the kennel tick, the brown ear tick, the fowl tampan and the sand tampan. As you can gather from the foregoing these names are very descriptive and immediately give you a clue as to which tick you are dealing with.

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