Plasmid libraries enriched for microsatellites were generated in the tick, Ixodes scapularis and in the mosquito Aedes aegypti. Libraries were enriched for genomic DNA containing (AC)n, (AG)n, (ATG)n, (CAG)n, (TAG)n, (AAT)n, (CTGY)n or (GATA)n motifs. Clones containing each motif were sequenced in both species for PCR primer design. In I. scapularis, most primers amplified a single locus and alleles varied in the number of microsatellite repeats and segregated as codominant markers. In contrast (AC)n, (TAG)n and (GATA)n microsatellite loci extracted from Ae. aegypti appeared to be members of multigene families. A primer pair designed to amplify a particular TAG locus instead amplified many independently segregating loci, some of which did not contain TAG microsatellites. Alleles at the TAG loci segregated as dominant markers and there was limited evidence for length variation among alleles. These results suggest that microsatellite loci are not universally abundant in arthropod genomes nor do alleles always segregate as codominant markers.