Otobius lagophilus Cooley and Kohls, 1940

ETYMOLOGY:Oto = ear and bius = way of life; along with Lago = hare and philus = loving.


HISTORY:Otobiuslagophilus was first described by Cooley and Kohls in 1940. It is another soft tick that may parasitize cats (Cooley and Kohls, 1944).

GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION:Otobiuslagophilus is known from Alberta, Canada, and from the following states: California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Wyoming. There has been a single, isolated case report of this tick from a cat in Alberta, Canada (Cooley and Kohls, 1944).

LOCATION IN HOST: Cooley and Kohls (1944) found that the nymphs were attached in the fur on the face of rabbits near the vibrissae.

IDENTIFICATION: Cooley and Kohls (1944) state that "This species resembles the well-known spinose ear tick, Otobiusmegnini, but it is readily separated by the following characters: its smaller size; the heavy V-shaped spines found on the anterior surfaces in megnini are replaced in lagophilus by slender spines which are the same as those on the posterior parts; denticles on the hypostome in a 3/3 pattern instead of 4/4; legs more slender; spiracles of the nymph midly convex instead of conically protuberant.”

LIFE CYCLE: As with Otobiusmegnini the adults of Otobiuslagophilus are not parasitic. The nymphs are found on the fur of the face of rabbits. Adults have been found at the entrance of rabbit burrows or well down in burrows.

CLINICAL PRESENTATION AND PATHOGENESIS: Except for a single collection from a cat in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, in 1941, the only known hosts for Otobiuslagophilus are cotton-tail rabbits and jack rabbits. No clinical signs have been attributed to infestation of cats with this tick.

DIAGNOSIS: Finding the spinose nymphal stage on the cat.

TREATMENT: Any of the popular acaricides used for treating infestation of hard ticks on cats, should prove effective in treating Otobiuslagophilus.

EPIZOOTIOLOGY: Little is known about the epizootiology of this parasite relative to its association with the cat. Cats probably come into contact with the nymphs at either the burrows used by rabbits or by direct contact with infested rabbits.

HAZARDS TO OTHER ANIMALS: Other than the single report from the cat, the only known hosts for Otobiuslagophilus are cotton-tail rabbits and jackrabbits (Cooley and Kohls, 1944).

HAZARDS TO HUMANS: This tick is not known to attack humans.

CONTROL & PREVENTION: Accurate identification of soft ticks from the parasitized host or from the environment is a prerequisite to their control (Hoskins and Cupp, 1988). The cat's ability to roam freely to areas frequented by rabbits should be restricted if infestations with this parasite are observed to be a problem.


Cooley RA, Kohls GM. 1940. Two new species of Argasidae (Acarina: Ixodoidea). Pub Hlth Rep 55:925-933.

Cooley RA, Kohls GM. 1944. The Argasidae of North America, Central America and Cuba, Monograph 1. Am Midl Nat. Notre Dame, IN, University of Notre Dame, 21-36.

Hoskins JD and Cupp EW. 1988. Ticks of veterinary importance. Part II. The Argasidae family: Identification, behavior, and associated diseases. Comp Cont Ed Prac Vet 10:699-709.