Ticks can be divided into soft ticks (Argasidae; argasid ticks) and hard ticks (Ixodidae; ixodid ticks). Soft ticks are poorly represented in Australia. It is the hard ticks which are of economic importance to Australian livestock producers. These include the cattle tick (Rhipicephalus australis, previously known first as Boophilus microplus, and then as Rhipicephalus microplus), the bush tick (Haemaphysalis longicornis) and the paralysis tick (Ixodes holocyclus).
Hard ticks can be distinguished by their life cycles into 1-, 2- or 3-host ticks. The cattle tick is a 1-host tick. The bush tick and the paralysis tick are 3-host ticks. The time that an adult tick spends feeding on cattle is determined by its life cycle. Treatment for tick infestations varies depending on the kind of tick present.