Defensins are the most diverse groups of antimicrobial peptides in invertebrate animals. In ticks, defensins show great potential as targets for tick control, and display future prospect for therapeutic drug development. In the present study, a novel defensin-like gene (Ds-defensin) contributing to the antimicrobial and antioxidant capacity of the tick Dermacentor silvarum was characterized. The full-length of the Ds-defensin gene was 382 bp, which displayed tissue-specific expression and was highly abundant in the salivary glands and carcasses of the adults. It encodes a 71-amino acid defensin-like protein, and the protein precursor is characterized by a 22-amino acid signal peptide and a 34-amino acid mature peptide. The peptide displayed potent activity against most of the tested gram-positive bacteria, including Staphylococcus aureus, S. carnosus and Nocardia asteroides, and one tested gram-negative bacterium, Psychrobacter faecalis. Scanning electron microscopy revealed that the cell wall and surface of treated bacteria became rough and gradually formed pores after a 30-min exposure to the Ds-defensin peptide. Additionally, the peptide also showed significant antioxidant capacity. The above results implied that the defensin-like peptide may play an important role in tick defense and the interaction with microorganisms.