Ticks are the most important ectoparasites of livestock in tropical and sub-tropical areas, and are responsible for severe economic losses both through the direct effects of blood sucking and indirectly as vectors of pathogens and toxins. Feeding by large numbers of ticks causes reduction in live weight gain and anaemia among domestic animals, while tick bites also reduce the quality of hides. However, the major losses caused by ticks are due to the ability to transmit protozoan, rickettsial and viral diseases of livestock, which are of great economic importance world-wide. The authors review general aspects of tick biology, the taxonomy, pathogenic effects and vector role of these species, and methods for the control of ticks. The distribution of ticks is continuously changing, as illustrated by the spread of the African tick Amblyomma variegatum in the Caribbean, where a large-scale eradication campaign is now under way.