Ticks of veterinary importance can generally be identified based on morphological features of the tick along with knowledge of host specificity. This tick ID information can be used as a guide, but when positive identification is required ticks should be submitted to your local authority.
Queensland call 13 25 23 and state where you are from and ask to be directed to the local Biosecurity Officer (BO). Alternatively, you can use the following link to find a local DAF office.
Northern Territory contact your Regional Livestock Biosecurity Officer (RLBO).
NSW should be taken without delay to the nearest Cattle Tick Control program office or any other NSW DPI office, or your Local Land Services.
Western Australia contact your local Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) Biosecurity Officer.
If possible, extract ticks with undamaged mouthparts as these may be important for identification. Taking the tick carefully between thumb and forefinger, as close to the skin as possible, and pulling gently, perhaps with a slight twisting motion, is usually sufficient for getting the tick off the host. Ticks can be preserved in 70% alcohol or sent in in escape-proof containers.
Severely dehydrated nymphs and adult ticks can be softened and restored for examination by placing them in a small quantity of dilute detergent for several hours. This will also assist with the removal of host tissue from the mouthparts, making identification easier.
Tick descriptions are based on adult ticks. Engorging adult females are the largest life stage and the easiest to find and identify (Figure 1).
Features to assist in identification (see Figure 2).