Jan 212016
 

Our today parasite has, as indicated by the species name, a quite circular appearance. Unfortunatly, I cannot show you a global view of this species. I am really sorry but it was to big for my lowest magnification objective !

Zonurobia circularis Lawrence 1935 belongs to the family of Pterygosomatidae and has been found on Platysaurus guttatus, the dwarf flat lizard. It can be found in Nord Transvaal in South Africa.

This is probable that the author of the prepared slide is Frank J. Radowsky (1929-2010), but I am not sure. Anyway this specimen and slide is now part of the French collection MNHN, Paris.

This prepared slide is really good and we can observe many details. I particularly appreciate the scale-like setae, which reminds me the scales of a butterfly. Have you ever observed butterfly scales in a microscope ?

Gnathosoma reminds me a tick, with hypostome and chelicerae, but it is far from an Ixodida !

 

I draw your attention on peritremal tubes araising on each side of the gnathosoma. I made specially two photographies of the gnathosoma, with two different focusses.

By the way, I recommend you the following publication which shows some very good drawings of this species :

PTERYGOSOMATIDAE : DESCRIPTIONS ET OBSERVATIONS SUR LES GENRES PTERYGOSOMA, GECKOBIA, ZONUROBIA ET HIRSTIELLA (ACARI : ACTINEDIDA) M. BERTRAND, I. PAPERNA et S. FINKELMAN

If you observe carefully the description and drawings which are made of Zonurobia circularis, you may notice that my photos are showing exactly the same configuration of articles and setae…

This publication, here above in reference, mentions that Lawrence has described 5 different types of Zonurobia circularis, and this species would probably require some deaper analysis linked with the type of hosts… Zonurobia is considered by Jack (1964) as near to Pterygosoma genera. One may wonder if some described species of Pterygosoma could not be in reality Zonurobia !

I propose you to compare both genera with the following post showing Pterygosoma transvaalense.

We are at you disposal to make such analysis if you can provide us some specimens of these nice parasites !

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Jan 072016
 

Synopsyllus estradei is a species of Siphonaptera from Pulicidae family, identified for the first time in Madagascar by professor J. M. Klein in 1964. The prepared slide is from MNHN, Paris collection.

This species was collected in a nest identified probably as a nest of Eliurus (rodent in the family of Nesomyidae).

 

At the time of discovery of this new species, it was the third species of Synopsyllus known :

  1. Synopsyllus fonquerniei (on Ratus ratus)
  2. Synopsyllus smiti (on Macrotarsomys ingens)
  3. Synopsyllus estradei (probable on Eliurus sp.)
  4. Synopsyllus robici (discovered after S. estradei)
  5. Synopsyllus girardi (discovered after S. estradei)

Publication of the description of the species available on the net :

UNE NOUVELLE ESPECE DE SYNOPSYLLUS (INSECTA, SIPHONAPTERA) DE LA FORET ORIENTALE DE MADAGASCAR, S. estradei par J. M. KLEIN (Bulletin de la Société de Pathologie exotique. Extrait du tome 57, no I, Janvier-Février 1964)

The genus Synopsyllus has been first described by Wagner and Roubaud, in 1932. It is characterised by :

  • Metasternum and metepisternum fully fused without vestigial suture (this is also the case for Synosternus Jordan, 1925),
  • Anterior occipital seta (not present in Synosternus),
  • Spermatheca has much bigger size than the one of Synosternus.

The spermatheca of Synopsyllus estradei is anyway quite different from the other species of Synopsyllus.

The new species was dedicated to Mr. Dr. F. ESTRADE Chief Director of Hygiene and Prevention  (SGHMP) and Director of the Institute of Social Hygiene of the Malagasy Republic.

You have on the following link a comparison with related genera Synosternus. I promise I will explain more in details in future, what means exactly fusion of metasternum and metepisternum, which could sound really esoteric for most of people !

I hope you will apppreciate the beauty of these photos ?

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Jan 012016
 

Hello world ! Mites and Parasites wish you a happy new year 2016 ! We wish you as few parasites as possible, unless for scientific studies… We wish you nice discoveries and wonderful photos of microworld !

As the new year is always an opportunity to take good resolutions, then I will suggest myself, for year 2016, to show you more oribatid mites… this is one of my weak points ! So to show you that I am working on my 2016 resolution, I show you, for the first post of this year, an oribatid mite extracted from the collection of MNHN, Paris !

Have you ever heard about ptychoïd oribatids ? Ptychoïdy is a mechanical defence in some groups of Oribatida, where the animals can retract their legs into the idiosoma and encapsulate. For this reason they are commonly called box mites. Our today subject is Euphthiracarus crassisetae, nearctic oribatid mite. This mite is belonging to the family of Euphthiracaridae.

 

Euphthiracarus polytretos is the name indicated on the prepared slide mounted by Professor Walker. It is a former synonym of Euphthiracarus crassisetae, according to World catalog of Oribatid mites from Subias. Subias is a real phenomenon for having performed such an exhaustive catalog of world oribatida. He has our full respect !

The inscriptions on the slide show :

  • Name of species : Euphthiracarus polytretos
  • Biotop : partly decayed coast, reduced stump, litter, humus, soil
  • Locality : Smith river Del Norte Co., California
  • Context : Fort Hays Studies
  • Reference of slide : 47D4
  • Mounting media : Euparol
  • Sex : male
  • Determinator : Walker
  • PARATYPE

In relations with this specimen, I found the following reference on the net : Walker, N.A. (1965): Euphthiracaroidea of California Sequoia Litter: with a reclassification of the families and genera of the world (Acarina: Oribatei). Fort Hays Studies, New series, Science series 3: 1-154.

As I am interested in etymology, I will stress the point that crassisetae means thick setae… One of these short and thick setae appear on the shown images.

On the enclosed photomicrographs you can notice :

  • Details of cuticle with smart little circles,
  • Detail of club-shaped sensilium,
  • Detail of gnathosoma, you can notice that the lateral part of gnathosomal capsule is not ornamented,
  • The shown chelicera is part of a second mout with dissected parts of Euphthiracarus crassisetae.

Once again we wish you a Happy New Year 2016 !

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Dec 262015
 

With a certain emotion, I present you today a prepared slide of N. C. Rothschild done in 1911. This prepared slide is extracted from MNHN collection, Paris.

If you are wondering who was Nathaniel Charles Rothschild please consult Wikipedia.

As it is an ancient prepared slide, obviously the quality is slightly different, but it remains a very good one. Canada Balsam is a real permanent mounting media, slides can survive centuries in such media.

 

The current flea is Synosternus pallidus male, parasite found on squirrels in Soudan. Synosternus pallidus was firstly described by Taschenberg in 1880 !

Types are deposited at BMNH. This species belongs to the Pulicidae family.

Morphology

One of its characteristic is to have segment IV of tasus III, as long as large, as you can see it on the last picture here under.

Synonyms for the species

  • Pulex pallidus
  • Xenopsylla pallidus
  • Synosternus pallidus infestus

Hosts

It seems that hosts specificity is not that clear for Synosternus pallidus. Unless found in desertic environment, it is not a Gerbillid flea according to Professor Beaucournu. Klein (1975) and Lewis (1982) consider that primary host would be Paraechinus (desert hedgehog). Synosternus pallidus can be found in hen houses, can bite occasionnaly human, dogs and cats.

Professor Beaucournu identified this species on Jackal (Canis aureus), hare (Lepus), fennec (Fenecus zerda) and fox (Vulpes vulpes). It seems to be frequent on Canidae, like Archaeopsylla erinacei in Europe.

Distribution

It seems to have a very wide distribution from Northern Africa (Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria, Tunesia…) until Central Asia.

Diseases

Last but not least, this species would be a very good vector of pest !

My thanks goes to Emmanuel Delfosse and Christophe Daugeron from MNHN, Paris.

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Dec 212015
 

Here are microscopic photos taken from a microscopic mount of the MNHN, Paris. This mite is Listrophoroides (Marquesania) papuanus, identified by Alex Fain from Tropical & Medical Institute of Anvers. This fur mite parasites pale field rat, known as Rattus tunneyi.

The pale field rat, also known as Tunney’s rat, is a nocturnal herbivore endemic in Australia. It once occupied almost all areas of mainland Australia, but is now found only in tall grasslands in northern Australia.

This mite species belongs to the family of Atopomelidae. Mites of the family Atopomelidae (Astigmata) are permanent parasites of small mammals. The Atopomelidae include 46 genera and about 360 species. The genus Listrophoroides (Hirst) is the largest genus of the family, including 16 subgenera and more than 150 species (Fain 1981).

 

The inscriptions on the slide shows :

  • Name of species : Listrophoroides (Marquesania) papuanus
  • Name of host : Rattus tunneyi
  • Locality : Port Warrender, Kimberly Exp.
  • Date of collection : 30-X-1976
  • Reference of slide : 50G11
  • Collection : Institut Tropical Médical d’Anvers
  • Sex : female
  • Determinator : A. Fain

If you are intereted in such species, please refer to this publication :

We can read the following concerning Marquesania subgenus :

The species of this subgenus are permanent parasites living in the fur of rats (Rodentia:Murinae) in the Oriental region, Australia and New Guinea. The atopomelids are more commensals than true parasites, because they feed on the secretions of hair glands and, probably, do not damage their hosts. After the present revision, this subgenus includes 13 species.

If you have occasion to collect such mite, we would be happy to receive some samples. We can also bring you some expertise in determination of such parasite.

Our thanks go to MNHN Paris for granting a free access to the collection. Congratulations to A. Fain and Bochkov for their great job on this genus and family !

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Dec 042015
 

This mite was found hitchhiking on a Necrophorus beetle, in French Brittany in 2010.

Well, I am not fully satisfied with these photos but the specialists will anyway probably recognise the Macrocheles glaber group… from the family of Macrochelidae. The problem is that the prepared slide is very slim, it is good to have a global clear view of the mite, but both faces are overlapped, even with higher magnification. When you have no micrometric button, it is difficult to understand, on such photos, if the seta you see is on the dorsum or the ventrum.

Anyway I checked for you the differenciation between the mites of the glaber group (I speak about females here under) :

  • Macrocheles nataliae : setae J5, Z5 and S5 are with distal pilosity, J5 rather fully pilose or serrated
  • Macrocheles glaber : setae J5 are with distal pilosity (or serrated) but Z5 and S5 are smooth
  • Macrocheles perglaber has significant differences in ventral shields but only differential drawings could highlight the differences

 

When the story becomes complicated, it is with a new description coming from France in 2006 :

  • TWO NEW SPECIES OF MACROCHELES FROM FRANCE (MESOSTIGMATA: MACROCHELIDAE) by J. NIOGRET , A. NICOT & M. BERTRAND (Accepted October 2006)

It describes a new species called Macrocheles paucipectinatus, but the description is in nearly all points similar to a glaber like Macrocheles and it is stated that :

By several characters, Macrocheles paucipectinatus n. sp. is closed to the glaber group: the well defined procurved line, the pattern on sternal shield, the simple and pilose dorsal setae (S5, Z5 pilose and serrated J5). However simple z4 and r4 get M. paucipectinatus n. sp. different from the standard definition (Walter & Krantz 1992).

This slight difference is not convincing for me, as one can easily observe slight differences in pectinations of setae from one individual to the other pertaining presumably to the same species. But this is only my point of view. I am also slightly dissapointed by the quality of the drawings of the here under referred paper, no description unfortunetly of the chelicera.

One difference I can observe from Macrocheles paucipectinatus with my subject is :

Arched line is short, central part of sternal shield with reticular pattern. Angular line divided in 2 branches posteriorly. Oblique posterior lines glaber-like.

Anyway, to my humble opinion, our subject here is definitly a female of Macrocheles nataliae. One of my references is Fauna Europea, and I do not see any M. paucipectinatus in their list for Macrochelidae. By the way I should jump into TGV to go to Paris check the deposit of types for M. paucipectinatus…

If you read me and are concerned about Macrocheles glaber group (oh my God!), let me know your opinion.

Thanks for your patience reading me.

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Dec 012015
 
Spilopsyllus cuniculi - rabbit flea

Hello world, here is a male of Spilopsyllus cuniculi, which is simply the flea of the rabbit ! This flea is belonging to the family of Pulicidae. As other Siphonaptera, it is an ectoparasite generally found in the animal fur. One can find many information on the net on this species, but few photos for […]

Nov 252015
 
Metagynella carpathica - Deutonymph

I am proud to present you today a case of phoresy on Dorcus parallelipipedus (stag beetle also found as parallelopipedus), family of Lucanidae… Obviously the mite presented here below is a deutonymph and not an adult stage ! It was found on the French territory. Metagynella carpathica was firstly described by Balogh in 1943. The […]

Nov 132015
 
Falculifer rostratus - feather mite of pigeons and doves

Hello friendship of mites ! To continue the series of feather mites, here is the nearly famous feather mite of the common pigeon, for those who care about pigeons or doves at least… Its sweety little name is Falculifer rostratus (Buchholz, 1869) , from the family of Falculiferidae.   It feeds on keratin and prefers […]

Nov 082015
 
Polyaspinus cylindricus or nicolae

This new mite is obiously a Mesostigmata belonging to the Uropodina Cohort. I feel a bit uncomfortable with this Polyaspinus, considering that some authors class it in the Polyaspididae family, and others in Trachytidae family. Who owns the truth ? Where is the truth ? M. Kontschan, if you could help us your are welcome […]