Substances & Homeopatic Remedies

Ixodes ricinus

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ixodes ricinus, L


Old English ticia, from West Germanic *tik- (cf. Middle Dutch teke, Dutch teek, Old High German zecho, German Zecke "tick"), of unknown origin. French tique (mid-15c.), Italian zecca are Germanic loan-words.


Traditional name

Eng: castor bean tick
Ita: zecca dei boschi

German: Zecke, gemeiner Holzbock

Used parts

whole animal


Animalia, arthropoda, arachnida, acari, ixodidae


Original proving

2005, Juliane Hesse, Germany

Link to the German proving here

Description of the substance

Ixodes ricinus, the castor bean tick, is a chiefly European species of hard-bodied tick. It may reach a length of 11 mm (0.43 in) when engorged with a blood meal, and can transmit both bacterial and viral pathogens such as the causative agents of Lyme disease and tick-borne encephalitis.

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In common with other species of Ixodes, I. ricinus has no eyes and is not ornate; it has no festoons (wrinkles along the posterior margin). The palpi are longer than they are wide, and there is an anal groove above the anus. It has a hard dorsal shield which covers the entire opisthosoma (abdomen), but only part of it in females and nymphs.[2] I. ricinus is the largest of the three common species of Ixodes in the British Isles (the other two being I.canisuga, the "British dog tick", and I. trianguliceps, the "vole tick"). Adult males are 2.4–2.8 millimetres (0.09–0.11 in) long, and unfed nymphs are 1.3–1.5 mm (0.05–0.06 in) long; females are 3.0–3.6 mm (0.12–0.14 in) long before feeding and 11 millimetres (0.43 in) long when engorged.


Ixodes ricinus is found across Europe and into neighbouring parts of North Africa and the Middle East, extending as far north as Iceland and as far east as parts of Russia.[3] Its northern limit seems to be determined by environmental factors, including temperature, since a series of mild winters in Scandinavia coincided with an expansion northwards in the range of I. ricinus.
I. ricinus is most frequent in habitats where its hosts are plentiful, including woodlands, heaths and forests. It is most prevalent in relatively humid areas, and is absent from much of the Mediterranean Region where summers are dry.

Life cycle

Ixodes ricinus has a three-host life cycle, which usually takes 2–3 years to complete, although it can take from 1 to 6 years in extreme cases.[3] Adults feed on large mammals such as sheep, cattle, dogs, deer, humans and horses for 6–13 days, before dropping off. An engorged female will lay several thousand eggs and subsequently die. The larvae that hatch do not actively seek a host, and usually feed on insectivores (orders Erinaceomorpha and Soricomorpha), although they may also find rodents, rabbits, birds reptiles or bats. They feed for 3–5 days before dropping off and moulting. The resulting nymphs then ascend grasses or twigs to seek their next host, but must return to the moist microclimate at the soil surface if they become dehydrated.[6] The nymphs feed on small to medium-sized mammals.