Oct 212015

Hello again with another mount from the collection of MNHN in Paris. The shown slide has the following references :

  • Name of species : Axonopsis romijni (no longer valid at present)
  • Locality : lake “du grand Laoucien” in France
  • Date of collection : 1927
  • Reference of slide : 19C4
  • Collection : C.M. (Understand C. Motas)
  • Sex : male

It is a real pitty that the medium used for the mount is nearly never indicated. In this case it is pretty well preserved for a mount done in 1927.

According to A Checklist of the water mites of France(Acari: Hydrachnidia) of Harry SMIT and Reinhard GERECKE, this species is present in France in Ardèche, in Pyrénées-Orientales and in Var. It is a member of Aturidae family ad Aturinae subfamily.

I wonder what is the origin of Axonopsis name ? This could be due to the fact that Axonopsis has a dark spot (like an eye “ops”) in the axis (“axo”) of the animal ? Your opinion is welcome.


The exact naming of the species was recently Axonopsis (Hexaxonopsis) romijni Viets, 1923 (same reference as here under published in 2010), but according to this recent publication (2015) :

Revision of the status of some genus-level water mite taxa in the families Pionidae Thor, 1900, Aturidae Thor, 1900, and Nudomideopsidae Smith, 1990 (Acari: Hydrachnidiae) – IAN M. SMITH, DAVID R. COOK & REINHARD GERECKE

We are proposing here that a number of taxa in the families Pionidae, Aturidae (subfamilies Axonopsinae and Aturinae), and Nudomideopsidae that have been treated as subgenera in the recent literature should be elevated to full generic rank to reflect the diversity, morphological distinctness, relationships, and apparent ages of the species groups they comprise.

… the name of the species has been moved to Paraxonopsis romijni. Paraxonopsis is elevated in
rank from subgenera to full genera, and the former sub-genera seems to have changed by the way…

More information on the site of collection here. C. Motas studied the fauna of this lake and published the following book : Contribution à la connaissance des hydracariens français particulièrement du Sud-Est de la France, C. Motas, Travaux du Laboratoire d’Hydrobiologie et de Pisciculture de l’Université de Grenoble, 1928″.

In the title of this article, I mention probable parasite of chironomids, because it seems to be an accepted hypothesis unless there is no real proof of evidence of that. Parasitism on chironomids is probable, as many related genera include chironomid-parasitic species. In all known cases, it is the larva that parasitizes the insect host. This subject is still to be studied !

Here is a link of one of my colleagues with a live image of an Aturidae.

For this post, my thanks goes to Professor Gerecke and MNHN, Paris.

Oct 152015

Hello world, here is a female of Doratopsylla dasycnema cuspis, which can be considered as the flea of the common shrew (Sorex araneus) ! This flea is belonging to the family of Ctenophtalmidae.

Doratopsylla dasycnema cuspis Rothschild, 1915 is considered as a valid subspecies (cf Fauna Europea). The types are located at the British Museum of National History, obviously as firstly described by Rothschild. It is a flea encountered in South East of Europe (Italy, part of France,…).


  • Sternum VII is shown here below with nor sinus (like for Doratopsylla dasycnema dasycnema), neither incision (like for Doratopsylla dasycnema giloti) at its posterior margin.
  • The genal comb has 4 spines directed backwards, the last one being slightly curved upwards.
  • The pronotal comb has 16 spines.
  • Even if on my photo here below the spermatheca is a little bit smashed, I can clearly see punctuations on it, and not striations as represented for Doratopsylla dasycnema dasycnema in “Les puces de France et du bassin méditerranéen occidental“.



  • Dasy means thick and cnema means leg. Much probably this name of species was given considering the fact that it has thicker legs than other ones ?
  • Cuspis means tip. The name of this subspecies is possibly linked with the form of the posterior margin of Sternum VII ?

Here below a list of synonyms and hosts according to litterature on the subject.

Synonyms for the species

  • Doratopsylla cuspis
  • Doratopsylla bifida


  • Main hosts : Sorex araneus, Sorex alpinus, Crocidura russula, Crocidura leucodon, Crocidura suaveolens, Neomys fodiens
  • Secondary host : Talpa europea, Talpa caeca, Talpa romana, Talpa stankovici
  • Occasionnal host : Mus domesticus, Erinaceus europaeus, Apodemus sylvaticus, Clethrionomys glareolus, Microtus nivalis

Other subspecies

  • Doratopsylla dasycnema dasycnema is known from Europe, sternum VII has a sinus at the posterior margin.
  • Doratopsylla dasycnema giloti is known from Spain, sternum VII has an incision at the posterior margin.
Oct 102015

I am back again with another mount from the collection of NMNH in Paris. The shown slide has the following references :

  • Name of species : Neochauliacia simplex Peterson, Atyeo and Moss, 1978
  • Name of host : Streptoprocne sonaris sonaris
  • Locality : unknown
  • Date of collection : 1937
  • Reference of slide : 38F11
  • Collection : Berrson
  • Sex : male

First of all, Streptoprocne sonaris sonaris (seen also as S. zonaris zonaris) is a pretty little bird known in Costa Rica for instance (family of Micropodidae). Very difficult to find relevant information about this bird on the net.

Neochauliacia simplex belongs to the very unknown family of Eustathiidae. Two other species of Eustathiidae can be found on the common swift (Apus apus) : Chauliacia securigera and Eustathia cultrifer (see this very good site on feather mites)

If you happen to collect such feather mites, we would be happy to receive some samples for identification and photography. Obviously your name will be quoted as the collector.

Enjoy the hidden beauty of this feather mite, thanks again to the NMNH in Paris !


Oct 052015

My friend Paul told me that a cat without fleas does not exist ! I am quite ready to follow him on that. But could we say the same for lice ? Personnaly I admit that I have never seen any louse in a cat fur. Anyway our dear cats have actually their lice, like we humans have ours…

I am pretty sure that you have never seen them, at least such big ones ! Anyway, this Felicola subrostratus species is petty much illustrated on Google image. On that specific topic I will not bring a brand new iconography to the net, but the photos are worth seeing, with the sexual dimorphism… You will now have an example of a male and a female to distinguish them, if you happen to find some in your cat fur !

This species is belonging to the Trichodectidae family. It is yellowish, with brown transverse bands, with a head subtriangular, and antennae have three segments. It is around 1mm in length. It might be present all around the world probably due to the release of the domestic cat.

Do not hesitate to submit us your cat lice (in alcool of course, otherwise it could infest the bloody Garfield which is always rummaging about in my compost !).

Many thanks again to Paul for these outstanding photos (and outstanding microscopic mounts).

Cheers !


Oct 012015

Hello world,

I used to go for hunting on bats, during endless nights, but for scientific purposes of courses ! No victims among bats I swear !

For this reason I am quite familiar with the mites you can find on the bat wings (or more precisely what scientists call the patagium).

I am happy to present you this specimen which is not an adult stage but a preadult one. I would say deutonymph but I am not really sure. This mite was find on Myotis myotis and is much probably Spinturnix cf myoti but I would appreciate confirmation if you are familiar with such mites and the preadult stage.

You may be surprised by the fact that caecums and blood is not visible, which is usually the case in this family (Spinturnicidae), but it has been erased by chemicals to improve the quality of the microscopic mount !

Thanks for your interest !