Lice and ticks are parasites. Lice are small wingless insects that feed on dead skin or blood of hosts where as ticks are small arachnids that feed on the blood of mammals, birds and some reptiles.
There are three lice species that are known to be disease agents in humans. There are over 2,500 species of chewing lice, and 500 known species of sucking lice.
edit Differences in Biological Classification and Anatomy
Lice belong to Phylum Arthopoda and Class Insecta, characterized by a separate head, thorax and abdomen, and three pairs of legs. Chewing and sucking lice fall into two different orders Mallophaga (chewing lice) and Phthiraptera (sucking lice).
Ticks belong to the Phylum Arthopoda, and Class Arachnida characterized by a fused head and thorax and four pairs of legs in adults. These parasites have sensory organs that can detect odor, heat and humidity which helps them locate their host.
edit Life Cycle of Ticks vs Lice
The life cycle of lice consists of three stages: nit, nymph and adult, and the duration from egg to egg stage is about one month. Lice can last about one month on a person’s scalp.
The life cycle of ticks consists of four stages: egg, larva, nymph and adult. It feeds on three different hosts during their life cycle which lasts for 2 years.
edit Differences in Behavior and Habitat
Unlike some insects that only lay eggs in other parasitic hosts, ticks and lice spend their entire life-span as parasites.
Chewing lice feed on mammals (except humans) and birds. Sucking lice are found on humans and mainly thrive by sucking blood from the scalp. They spread through common clothes, combs and other bedding. Besides head lice, humans host other types of lice such as body lice and pubic lice.
Ticks are parasites that feed on blood and are commonly found near trees and shrubs and water. They attach to a host’s body by inserting its mandibles and feeding tube into the skin of the host. Ticks are commonly found in dogs and cats.
edit Diseases caused by lice and ticks
Lice are associated with Rickettsial diseases, which are caused by bacteria and lead to conditions such as Typhus, rocky Mountain Spotted fever and other diseases in humans. Ticks can transmit diseases like Lyme disease, Babesiosis and Hepatozoonosis.