Résumé : Ticks are obligate blood-feeding arachnids. During their long-lasting blood meal, they have to counteract the protective barriers and defense mechanisms of their host. These include tissue integrity, pain, hemostasis, and the inflammatory and immune reactions. Here, we describe a multigene family coding for five putative salivary metalloproteases induced during the blood meal of Ixodes ricinus. The evolutionary divergence inside the family was driven by positive Darwinian selection. This came together with individual variation of expression, functional heterogeneity, and antigenic diversification. Inhibition of the expression of some of these genes by RNA interference prevented completion of the tick blood meal and affected the ability of the tick saliva to interfere with host fibrinolysis. This family of proteins could therefore participate in the inhibition of wound healing after the tick bite, thereby facilitating the completion of the blood meal.