Ticks fall into two main groups, hard ticks and soft ticks.
Hard ticks (family: Ixodidae) have a shield (scutum in females, conscutum in males) that covers the whole back of male ticks and only the front part of female ticks’ bodies. Their bodies are flat and their mouthparts are elongated with rows of backward pointing teeth. This group includes all of the economically important ticks of cattle including cattle tick, bush tick, and paralysis tick.
Soft ticks (family: Argasidae) have a wrinkled leathery appearance when they are unengorged. Only a few species of this type are found in Australia. Argasid ticks spend only short periods of time on the host, and do not have the complex attachment to the skin that ixodid ticks have.