Forensic Science, Medicine and Pathology

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 119–121 | Cite as

Utilizing ticks as forensic indicators in a livestock investigation

  • Mackenzie L. KwakEmail author
  • Joseph Schubert
Case Report


Although forensic parasitology remains in its infancy compared with more developed fields like forensic entomology, parasites can be useful forensic indicators. We present the case of an individual who disobeyed animal health legislation and crossed animal quarantine boundaries and two state lines with a cattle tick (Rhipicephalus australis) infested horse. Following recognition of the infestation by animal health officers, the individual asserted that the infestation had occurred either during transport or upon arrival at the site of discovery, and that they had not contravened quarantine legislation. Utilizing ticks as forensic indicators, knowledge of the life cycle and minimum age of ticks on the infested horse indicated that the individual’s assertions were false, and that they had in fact transported the tick infested horse from a cattle tick endemic region across state lines and quarantine zones.


Forensic parasitology Cattle tick Rhipicephalus australis Forensic acarology 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

No conflicts of interest declared.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal participants.

Informed consent

This article does not include participants that require informed consent.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Evolutionary Biology Laboratory, Department of Biological ScienceNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.School of Biological SciencesMonash UniversityClaytonAustralia

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