New Chigger Mite Species Found In Brazil

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Chigger mites in the genus Blankaartia are known to preferentially parasitize birds, but occasionally they can also be found on rodents, bats, and reptiles. Scientists in Brazil have reported the presence of mites in this genus for the first time in their country, and they have discovered a new species called Blaankartia shatrovi. The name […]

Researchers Discover Four New Mite Species Living Inside Ibis and Spoonbill Feathers

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By Meredith Swett Walker If you were to page through a field guide to birds searching for species that look as if they were dreamed up by Dr. Seuss, you’d probably choose some from the family Threskiornithidae, which includes ibises and spoonbills. For instance, the Eurasian spoonbill, a leggy bird that looks like it has […]

Dust Baths and Longer Beaks Can Make Cage-free Chickens into Mite-free Chickens

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By Meredith Swett Walker Life is improving for America’s chickens. Due to consumers’ increasing interest in animal welfare, large portions of the poultry industry are shifting towards less restrictive housing. Many poultry farmers are replacing the conventional conjoined small wire cages, called “battery cages,” with cage-free housing in large open poultry houses. Cage-free housing gives […]

Backyard Chickens Harbor Greater Diversity of Ticks, Mites, and Lice than Farm-raised Chickens

By Meredith Swett Walker Today’s backyard chickens are not your grandmother’s birds — they sport jaunty sweaters, go for walks on leashes, and dine on treats like “chunky chicken caviar.” As keeping chickens has become more popular, the bird’s status has been elevated from practical livestock to pampered pet. And though they may indulge in […]

Three New Chigger Mite Species Discovered on Rodents in Thailand

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Three new species of chigger mites have been discovered in Thailand, and are described in an article in the Journal of Medical Entomology. The new species were discovered as part of a broad sampling effort across 11 provinces in Thailand, and they were found on rodents. With the addition of these three species, there are […]

Forensic Entomologists Mite Start Looking at Acarids for Clues

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By Meredith Swett Walker In 1879, long before TV shows like CSI and Bones created a generation of armchair forensic entomologists, Jean Pierre Mégnin, one of the first scientists to use insect evidence to aid death investigations, examined the desiccated body of a female infant found in a vacant lot in Paris. “The mummy of […]

Three New Chigger Mite Species Discovered in Taiwan

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Three new species of trombiculid mites, also known as “chiggers,” have been discovered in Taiwan, according to a new paper published in the Journal of Medical Entomology. Furthermore, 23 other species that are new records for Taiwan were found, more than doubling the number of previously-known species on the island. Chiggers are tiny mites that […]

In a Desert, Manners Maketh Mites: A New and Unusual Type of Microbivory

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By Samuel Bolton For any small arthropod, the topsoil and litter layers are a veritable jungle — a morass of predators, pathogens, and meals. There are two basic strategies for surviving in organically rich soils: either live fast and die young, or find a way of protecting yourself from predators. Both of these strategies work […]

Different Modes of Locomotion Discovered in Worm-like Mites

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By Samuel Bolton What does your esophagus have in common with a type of mite with an extremely elongated body? The answer is, both of them employ a peristaltic mode of motion. Peristalsis occurs when the many muscles that line a body or food channel contract and relax in wave-like succession. When you swallow, you […]

Of Mites and Men: A Visit to the USDA Electron & Confocal Microscopy Unit

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By Richard Levine I recently visited the USDA Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (BARC) in Maryland to check out their Electron & Confocal Microscopy Unit, a state-of-the-art facility which allows researchers to obtain incredible photos of really tiny specimens, including insects, mites, nematodes, fungi, and viruses. The director, Dr. Gary Bauchan, is a specialist in microscopy, […]