25+ Ectoparasite Examples:Detailed Facts


Ectoparasites are a type of parasite that lives on the host and usually gets their nourishment from that host body. Here we are going to discuss some most common ectoparasite examples.

Some most common ectoparasites are- 

Sarcoptes scabiei

Sarcoptes scabiei is a parasitic mite typically belonging to the phylum Arthropoda. It infects several mammal species including ungulates, wild boars, bovids, dogs, cats, koalas, etc. Humans are also infected by them. It burrows the skin of its host and causes scabies. It is also known as itch mite commonly. 

Rhipicephalus sanguineus

Rhipicephalus sanguineus is one of the most common ectoparasite examples. It is also known as the brown dog tick or pantropical dog tick. There are several different species found under the genus Rhipicephalus. It mostly infects dogs but other mammals can be also infected by them. It is found attached to the skin of the head, ears and back of the host dogs. 

Rhipicephalus microplus

Rhipicephalus microplus is one of the most economically significant ectoparasite examples. It is a tick species typically belonging to the phylum arthropoda. Rhipicephalus microplus is also known as Asian blue tick or Australian cattle tick and parasitic to different mammal species including buffalo, horses, donkeys, goats, sheep, deer, pigs, etc. 

Ctenocephalides felis

Ctenocephalides felis is one of the most common ectoparasite examples. It is a flea species typically belonging to the phylum Arthropoda. It originated in Africa and infects cat species. It causes allergy in the host skin from its saliva and causes a disease named flea allergy dermatitis. 

Ixodes ricinus

Ixodes ricinus is a hard tick species causative agent of Lyme disease and tick-borne encephalitis. It is a European originated tick species parasitic to the mammal species including buffalo, horses, deers, goats, sheep, etc. It sucks blood from the host species and also transmits bacterial and viral pathogens. 

Crab louse 

Crab louse or Pthirus pubis is also one of the most common ectoparasite examples. It infects humans and feeds human blood. It is mostly found in the pubic hair of a person but can also live in other parts of the body covered with coarse hair such as eyebrows, eyelashes, beard, mustache, chest, armpits, etc. It causes itching, inflammation in the infected area of the body.

Ectoparasite Examples

Louse from pixnio.com

Xenopsylla cheopis

Xenopsylla cheopis is a ectoparasite primarily infects rodents but can also live on any mammal species. It is also known as Oriental rat flea or tropical rat flea. It serves as the vector for plague, Yersinia pestis, Rickettsia typhi, etc. It is also one of the most common ectoparasite examples.

Pediculus humanus

Pediculus humanus is one of the most common human ectoparasite examples. It consists of two subspecies generally known as body louse and head louse.

Amblyomma cajennense

Amblyomma cajennense is a tick species, one of the most common ectoparasite examples. It belongs to the phylum Arthropoda. It is an ectoparasite which infects humans as well as their domestic cattle species and transmits Rocky Mountain spotted fever. It is a native tick species mostly found in the United States. 

Tunga penetrans

Tunga penetrans is an ectoparasite mostly found in tropical and subtropical regions. It mostly infects humans as well as other mammals. Tunga penetrans is a kind of flea species which can cause an inflammatory skin disease called tungiasis. Tunga penetrans is also known as jigger, jigger flea, burrowing flea, chigoe flea, etc. 

Amblyomma americanum

Amblyomma americanum is a indigenous tick species mostly found in the United States and Mexican regions. It is sexually dimorphic tick species primary vector of Ehrlichia chaffeensis. Its primary host is humans. It can cause human monocytic ehrlichiosis as well as Ehrlichia ewingii, tularemia (Francisella tularensis), and southern tick-associated rash illness, etc. 

Rhipicephalus annulatus

Rhipicephalus annulatus is a hard tick species which is also known as North American cattle tick, North American Texas fever tick, and Texas fever tick. It is an ectoparasitic insect native to the tropical and subtropical regions. Its primary hosts are domestic mammal species including cattle, horse, sheep, dog, etc. 

Poultry wing louse

Poultry wing louse and Lipeurus caponis is also one of the most common ectoparasite examples. It mostly infects bird species such as chicken, Gallus gallus and mostly found in the wings, tails or the base of the feathers of its host. It is gray in color, generally wingless and six legged parasite. It feeds on the feather debris of the bird. 

Amblyomma maculatum

Amblyomma maculatum is an ectoparasite on cotton rats. Some most common hosts of amblyomma maculatum are dogs, different kinds of wild birds, deers, pigs, rats, rabbits and also humans. It is a tick species that is an infectious agent of different bacterial diseases including American tick bite fever, Rickettsia parkeri,etc. It is also known as Gulf Coast tick. 

Dermacentor marginatus

Dermacentor marginatus is a parasitic species typically belonging to the phylum Arthropoda and family Ixodidae. That means it is a hard tick species. It can infect several mammalian species including buffaloes, horses, deer, cattle, lagomorphs, peccaries, bighorn sheeps, etc. It also serves as a vector of different pathogens such as Rickettsia, Orientia, Ehrlichia, Neorickettsia, Neoehrlichia, etc.

Ornithodoros moubata

Ornithodoros moubata is an ectoparasitic tick species. It primarily.infects humans, poultry birds as well as pig species. It can cause relapsing fever in the human host body.  It feeds on the blood meals from its host. It can also cause African swine fever in case of pig species including domestic pigs, bushpigs, warthogs, etc. The ornithodoros moubata is also known as African hut tampan or the eyeless tampan species generally. 

Haemaphysalis leachi

Haemaphysalis leachi is one of the most common ectoparasite examples. It is a hard tick species that infects domestic and wild herbivores, carnivores, rodents, etc. Its most favorable host species is dog, hence known as yellow dog tick. It is an obligatory ectoparasite, attached to at least three hosts in its life cycle. It also serves as a vector of boutonneuse fever and canine babesiosis.

Pthirus gorillae 

Pthirus gorillae is an ectoparasitic louse species that primarily infects gorillas and sucks its blood to get nourishment. It is native louse species to the African region. It is a close relative to the human body louse or crab louse. It can be transmitted through social grooming. 

Haematopinus oliveri

Haematopinus oliveri is one of the most common ectoparasite examples. It is a blood sucking lice species mostly living as ectoparasites on hog species. It is an endemic species of India found in North Western Assam regions.

Carios erraticus

Carios erraticus is one of the most common ectoparasite examples. It is a tick species typically belonging to the family Argasidae. Its primary host is pig species but can also infect humans. 

Ixodes texanus

Ixodes texanus is one of the most Known ectoparasite examples. It is a hard body tick species typically belonging to the family Ixodidae. It primarily infects racoons but can also affect marsh rice rats as recorded. 

Ornithodoros savignyi

Ornithodoros savignyi is a soft tick species typically belonging to the family Argasidae. It can infect humans as well as wild animals, birds, etc. It’s mostly found in desert or semi desert areas including  Africa, Saudi Arabia, some parts in India, Sri Lanka, etc. Hence also called as sand tampan or Kalahari sand tampan. 

Soft tick from Wikimedia commons

Trichodectes canis

Trichodectes canis is one of the most common ectoparasite Examples. It is a louse species belonging to the family Trichodectidae. It infects domestic dogs and wild canids and eats the skin flakes of their host. Hence known as canine chewing louse.

Menacanthus

Menacanthus is a well known ectoparasite on birds. It feeds on the blood and skin flakes of their host body. It mostly infects poultry birds including chicken as well as wild birds. It is generally known as chewing lice.

Lernaeocera branchialis

Lernaeocera branchialis is a parasitic worm which infects marine fishes. It is a copepod larva which sticks to the gills of marine fishes and sucks blood from them.

Read more about Ectoparasite Examples

Ectoparasites in animals

There are several small insect species found which live as an ectoparasite on a host body. Different tick species such as Ixodes ricinus, Ixodes texanus, Ixodes affinis, Ixodes canisuga, etc live as ectoparasites in the animal body. Several louse species are found such as Trichodectes canis, Haematopinus oliveri, Pthirus gorillae, etc are ectoparasites in animals. 

Hard tick from Wikimedia commons

Types of ectoparasites

According to the species diversity there are different kind of ectoparasites are found, such as-

  • Leech- There are several leech species that are found living as ectoparasites in the host body such as  Sarcoptes scabiei. All belong to the subclass Hirudinea. 
  • Worm- There are several different worm species which live on the host body and suck blood from them, such as Lernaeocera branchialis. 
  • Soft ticks- Soft ticks are one of the most common ectoparasite examples. It doesn’t have hard covering in their body, lives on the host body as ectoparasite and gets nourishment. They can be very harmful to their host such as Rhipicephalus sanguineus, Amblyomma cajennense, etc.
  • Hard ticks- Hard ticks are also one of the most common ectoparasite examples. There are many hard ticks found such as Ixodes ricinus, Ixodes texanus, Ixodes affinis, etc.
  • Louse- Louse are obligatory ectoparasites found in different animals as well as the human body. Some most common louse species are Trichodectes canis, Haematopinus oliveri, Pthirus gorillae, etc.
  • Fleas- There are different flea species found which live as an ectoparasite in the host animal body. Ctenocephalides felis, Xenopsylla cheopis, Tunga penetrans, etc.

leech from Wikimedia commons

As a whole we can say that ectoparasites are economically very significant. Here we mention some most common ectoparasite examples. Hope this article on ectoparasites will be helpful to you all.

Piyali Das

Hello, I am Piyali Das, pursuing my Post Graduation in Zoology from Calcutta University. I am very passionate on Academic Article writing. My aim is to explain complex things in simple way through my writings for the readers. We can connect through LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/piyali-das-484019216 .

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