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Lice Vs Ticks : Differences Based on Classification, Anatomy, Life Cycle, Behavior & Habitat

There are several types of parasites; lice and ticks are the two most common parasites we know. There are several differences between lice and ticks. Read below to discover more differences.

Lice Vs Ticks. Basic Differences

Lice Vs Ticks. Basic Differences

Lice. Lice are actually small insects without wings and that feed on blood or the dead skin of the hosts. Some common lice are Rhyncophthrinia, Anoplura, Ischnocera and Amblycera.

Ticks. Ticks are very small arachnids feeding on the blood of birds, some reptiles, amphibians and mammals. American deer tick, cattle tick and sheep tick are some of the examples of organisms in the tick family.

Lice Vs Ticks. Differences Based on Classification & Anatomy

Lice. Lice are the parasites that belong to the Phylum Arthropoda, the Class Insecta, and they are characterized by a head, a thorax and an abdomen along with 3 pairs of legs. It is to be noted that chewing and the sucking lice are categorized in two different orders. Chewing lice are of Mallophaga order and sucking lice are of order Phthiraptera.

Ticks. When we talk about the classification of ticks, they fall to Phylum Arthropoda, but class Arachnida, as they have one fused head and thorax along with 4 pairs of legs in the adult ticks. Ticks comprises of sensory organs in them that detect the odor, humidity and heat, which assist them in locating their host.

Lice Vs Ticks. Differences Based On Their Life Cycle

Lice. There are some differences in the life cycle of these two parasites, i.e. the lice and the ticks. There are 3 stages in the life cycle of the lice; they are Nit, Nymph and the Adult stage. The time taken from an lice egg to adult stage is about 30 days. This parasite can last about a month the scalp of a person or the host.

Ticks. Ticks consist of 4 stages in their life cycle, and the stages are egg, the larva stage, the nymph and the adult stage. Tick feeds on 3 different hosts during the entire life cycle. Their life cycle lasts for about 2 years.

Lice Vs Ticks. Differences Based On Behavior & Habitat

Lice. Lice and ticks live as parasites all throughout their entire life as parasites. Chewing lice are the ones that are known to be feeding on mammals (humans being the exception) and birds. While, sucking lice are present on human and primarily thrive by sucking their blood from their scalp. Sucking lice generally spread via common combs, clothes and bedding. Apart from the head lice, several other types of lice also live on the human body, like the pubic lice and the body lice.

Ticks. Ticks are the parasites feeding on blood and are found commonly near shrubs, trees and water. The ticks get attached to the body of the host by inserting their mandibles and their feeding tube into the host’s skin. Ticks are commonly found in cats and dogs.

Lice Vs Ticks. Differences Based on the Diseases they Cause

Lice. Lice and the ticks have also some differences based on the diseases they cause in the host. Lice are generally associated with the Rickettsial diseases, basically caused due to bacteria and they result in conditions, like Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Typhus, and some more diseases in humans.

Ticks. Ticks are known to transmit diseases such as Babesiosis, Lyme diseases and Hepatozoonosis.

Lice Vs Ticks. Some Other Differences

Some other differences between lice and ticks are.

  • Most lice have got identical features, while the features of ticks basically depend on their species and the host they live on.
  • Lice live with the host all throughout their life; while ticks live in the host till their bodies are full and then they fall off from that.


We are aware of some of the differences between lice and ticks. We should be cautious about protecting ourselves from these parasites by following some effective means. Lice can be controlled by using medicated shampoos, oils and lice combs. However, to control ticks you need to use pesticides, chemicals and some dusters.


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2021). Lice: Biology & Life Cycle. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/lice/biology.html
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2021). Ticks: Biology & Life Cycle. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/ticks/biology.html
  3. World Health Organization (WHO). (2021). Tick-borne Diseases. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/news-room/questions-and-answers/item/tick-borne-diseases

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 17, 2023

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