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Ornithodoros hermsi Wheeler, Herms, & Meyer, 1935
Relapsing Fever Ticks
Family: Argasidae


© Public Domain     (Photo ID #126013)


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Distribution of Ornithodoros hermsi in British Columbia in British Columbia


There are two major sources of information for tick species in Canada and British Columbia. One is an old Canada Department of Agriculture publication: The Ixodoidea of Canada by John D. Gregson (1956). The other is the relatively new A Handbook to the Ticks of Canada (Ixodida: Ixodidae, Argasidae) by Lindquist et al. 2016. (Available from here.) John Gregson's considerable work on ticks provided key information on tick biology, distribution and host species. Information from Gregson's book forms the core of the species biology presented below. His original distribution information has been updated, however, based on collection records from the Canadian National Collection and other sources. That information is now further updated in the new book by Lindquist et al. (2016), and those interested in tick distributions should consult that publication. Thanks to Evert Lindquist, King Wu, Terry Galloway and Robbin Lindsay for input and insights into the biology and distribution of our tick fauna, and review of the original tick pages.

Species Information

This is a species of soft tick. According to Gregson (1956), “members of this genus are rounded in appearance and...lack the marginal rim characteristic of Argas species. The adults differ from those of Otobius in having a well-developed hypostome; the nymphs, in lacking a spiny integument.”

Source: Gregson, John D. 1956. The Ixodoideae of Canada. Canada Department of Agriculture, Ottawa


Species Biology

Hosts for this species include rodents (e.g. chipmunks) and birds (Gregson 1956).The favoured host are chipmunks (Wheeler 1943). According to Gregson (1956), larvae and nymphs feed on mice, chipmunks, birds and bats, engorge in a half hour and remain attached for several hours. Immature ticks molt after each feeding, with several molts during the nymphal stage (Gregson 1956). Adults feed several times, with eggs laid after each meal (Gregson 1956). This tick is a vector for relapsing fever in humans, and so is medically important (Gregson 1956, Wheeler 1943).

Source: Gregson, John D. 1956. The Ixodoideae of Canada. Canada Deapartment of Agriculture, Ottawa


According to Gregson (1956), “these ticks feed rapidly, and usually inhabit the resting places of their hosts, such as nests of birds or rodents and bat retreats.”


Global Range

In Canada, this species is reported from British Columbia. In the United States it is reported from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Colorado and California
Range in Canada and BC

In Canada, this species was first collected at Summerland, BC, in 1948, from a Bluebird nest in an old woodpecker hole in the eaves of a house, collected again in 1949 one mile away in similar habitat, and also reported from Cultus Lake and Okanagan Landing (Gregson 1956). It was also collected from Lac Le Jeune, near Kamloops (Gregson, 1956).

Status Information

Origin StatusProvincial StatusBC List
(Red Blue List)

BC Ministry of Environment: BC Species and Ecosystems Explorer--the authoritative source for conservation information in British Columbia.

Species References

Gregson, John D. 1956. The Ixodoidae of Canada. Canada Department of Agricluture, Ottawa.

Lindquist, Evert E., Terry D. Galloway, Harvey Artsob, L. Robbin Lindsay, Michael Brebot, Heidi Wood and Richard. G. Robbins. 2016. A Handbook to the Ticks of Canada (Ixodida: Ixodidae, Argasidae Biological Survey of Canada, Ottawa