7 Difference between Lice and Ticks (With Table)

There are many parasites and they depend on their hosts for different things. Ticks and lice are some of the known parasites.

Parasites cause problems to humans and other animals that they depend on. They may cause a lot of effects even leading to the death of the host.

Lice are parasites that attach themselves to the host’s hair and feed on blood, particles, and skin. Ticks are arachnids that feed on blood from their hosts and change hosts after feeding.

Parasites and ticks appear similar in various ways hence making it difficult for people to distinguish the two. Both are small in body size and depend entirely on blood from humans and other animals.

So, what is the main difference between lice and ticks? Lice are small wingless insects that feed on dead skin or blood of the host while ticks are small arachnids that feed on the blood of mammals, birds, and some on reptiles and amphibians.

This article is going to give you the differences between lice and ticks in tabular form. You will also get to learn about their differences.

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Difference between Lice and Ticks

Comparison Table (Lice vs. Ticks)

Basic Terms Lice Ticks
Classification They belong to class Insecta. They belong to class Arachnida.
Number of legs They have six legs when they mature. They have eight legs when they mature.
What they feed on They feed on dead skin and blood. They entirely feed on blood.
Life cycle It consists of three stages. It consists of four stages.
Diseases They are associated with rickettsial diseases. They transmit diseases like Lyme diseases.
Features Most have identical features. Their features depend on the species and the host.
Where found Commonly found in hair. They can be found all over the body.

What Are Lice?

Lice are small wingless insects. They belong to the class Insecta as they have six legs like normal insects. They feed on dead skin and blood from their hosts.

Their lifecycle consists of three stages. The nit, nymph then adult. The duration from egg stage to adult stage takes about one month.

They have stout legs and claws. The claws help them to cling to the hair or fur of their hosts. Their whole life is mostly dependent on their host. They are born on the host and die on it.

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Lice do not like oils. If the affected portion has olive oil the lice will leave. Lice can be controlled by the use of lice-free combs, medicated shampoos, and oils.

What are Ticks?

Ticks are small arachnids that come under the family Ixodoidea. When mature, they have eight legs and size can vary depending on the species.

They normally seek hosts when there are changes in temperatures. They are mostly found between tall grass and shrubs. They quietly wait for the host.

When a suitable host bypasses, they cling to it using their mandibles. Their mandibles serve the purpose of hooks to get anchored to the surface.

When its body is full of blood, it drops off from its host. The time when it becomes full varies from hours to days.

To control ticks, you can use chemicals, pesticides, or dusters. They can transmit diseases such as Lyme to the host if not controlled.

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Main Differences between Lice and Ticks

  1. Lice belong to class Insecta while ticks belong to class Arachnida.
  2. Lice have six legs while ticks have eight legs.
  3. Lice depend on their hosts till they die while ticks suck blood when they are full they fall off from the host.
  4. Most lice have identical features while ticks’ features depend on the species and the host.
  5. Lice feed on dead skin and blood while ticks entirely feed on blood.
  6. The life cycle of lice consists of three stages while the lifecycle of ticks consists of four stages.
  7. Lice are mostly found in hair while ticks are found all over the body.
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Similarities between Lice and Ticks

  1. Both appear similar.
  2. They are both small in body size.
  3. They both feed on blood.
  4. They both have effects on their hosts.


Lice and ticks are small animals that are mostly confused by people as they are both small in body size. They both feed on the blood of their host.

However, the two are completely different from each other. The main difference between lice and ticks is that lice belong to class Insecta and has six legs while ticks belong to class Arachnida and have eight legs.

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