Animalia > Arthropoda > Insecta > Diptera > Hippoboscidae > Melophagus > Melophagus ovinus

Melophagus ovinus (sheep ked)


Wikipedia Abstract

Melophagus ovinus, or the sheep ked, is a brown, hairy fly that resembles a tick. This wingless fly is about 4 to 6 mm long and has a small head; it is a fly from the family Hippoboscidae. They are blood-feeding parasites of sheep. The sheep ked feeds on the blood of its host by inserting its sharp mouthparts into capillaries beneath the skin. The legs of the sheep ked are very strong and tipped with claws. Sheep keds live their whole lives in the wool of sheep. They are most commonly found on the neck, shoulders, and underbelly of the host animal. Although they are often referred to as the “sheep tick”, sheep keds spend their entire lifecycle on their hosts, which is distinguishable from the characteristics of a true tick. Additionally, sheep keds have six legs, whereas true ticks have ei
View Wikipedia Record: Melophagus ovinus

Protected Areas

Name IUCN Category Area acres Location Species Website Climate Land Use
Pen Llyn a`r Sarnau/ Lleyn Peninsula and the Sarnau 360832 Wales, United Kingdom
The New Forest 72309 England, United Kingdom

Prey / Diet

Capra hircus (domestic goat)[1]
Ovis aries (sheep)[1]


Parasite of 
Vulpes vulpes (Red Fox)[2]

External References

NatureServe Explorer


Attributes / relations provided by
1Jorrit H. Poelen, James D. Simons and Chris J. Mungall. (2014). Global Biotic Interactions: An open infrastructure to share and analyze species-interaction datasets. Ecological Informatics.
2Nunn, C. L., and S. Altizer. 2005. The Global Mammal Parasite Database: An Online Resource for Infectious Disease Records in Wild Primates. Evolutionary Anthroplogy 14:1-2.
Abstract provided by DBpedia licensed under a Creative Commons License
Species taxanomy provided by GBIF Secretariat (2022). GBIF Backbone Taxonomy. Checklist dataset accessed via on 2023-06-13; License: CC BY 4.0