What Do Ticks Look Like?

Hard ticks have shield-like plates along their backs. Also known as the scutum, this protective shield covers the majority of the male tick’s body, while it is confined to a smaller region on female specimens. Hard ticks also have clearly visible mouthparts. Soft ticks bear only a leathery exoskeleton. When viewed from above, the mouthparts of the soft tick are not visible.

When engorged with blood, female ticks may more than double their size. However, unfed ticks are smaller in size and some are no larger than poppy seeds, particularity when they are young. Like other arachnids, ticks possess eight legs.