The paralysis tick Ixodes holocyclus bites humans, companion animals, and livestock in eastern Australia leading to symptoms that range between negligible and severe. Bandicoots (Family Peramelidae) are commonly cited as the “primary host” of I. holocyclus in the media and blamed for outbreaks of ticks and disease fears, creating conflicts between conservation and tick management. We discuss how evidence for bandicoots being essential to the I. holocyclus life cycle has originated from a small number of papers that were limited in scope. False assumptions of host-specificity have contributed to the extrapolation of studies in one ecosystem, yet no study has sampled the full range of hosts of I. holocyclus to understand the relative role of each species across the entire range of I. holocyclus in relation to health threats. Bandicoots are one of many potential tick hosts but cannot yet be considered the “primary host” of I. holocyclus. Researchers and media should refrain from highlighting bandicoots as the main I. holocyclus host without mentioning caveats, and work towards gaining a better understanding of tick-host interactions across the range of I holocyclus in order to better understand and mitigate public health risks.

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