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 !

Nov 132015

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 the flight feathers of wings (better taste or more minerals ?). It makes holes in the plumage and thus can hamper the flight. A favoured place for various species of such feather mites is the junction of barbs with the feather shaft.

According to, this species can be found on the following bird species :

Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)
Crested Pigeon (Ocyphaps lophotes)
Stock Dove (Columba oenas)
African Collared Dove (Streptopelia roseogrisea)
Housepigeon (Columba livia)
Trocaz Pigeon (Columba trocaz)
Woodpigeon (Columba palumbus)

On this same site you will find interesting information about the lifecycle of a feather mite.

Wandering around on the internet, I found the following specialised publications on this species :

  • Fine Structure of the Feather Mite Falculifer rostratus (Buchholz 1869) (Acari, Falculiferidae). 150 pages & 88 figures on this species, it is much probably a very interesting publication but unfortunatly far too expensive for me.
  • Population density and male polymorphism in the feather mite Falculifer rostratus (Acari: Falculiferidae), H. C. Proctor , G. Williams, D. H. Clayton

I went through this second publication and discovered an interesting phenomenon in the world of mites : the male polymorphism ! It occurs in Mesostigmata (Macrochelidae for example), in Prostigmata but also in Astigmata. The purpose of the study was to determine if the population density has an impact on the ratio of homeomorphic and heteromorphic males, as this can be observed for Sancassania berlesei. Well, the conclusion is not that straightforward because the notion of population density should be observed maybe preferably at the feather level, and not at the whole pigeon level…

In the case of Falculifer rostratus, the heteromorphic male should have leg I, II and the movable digit of chelicera greatly elongated. Is it the case for the shown mite ? I will tell you something… I do not know, I am even not 100% sure I am showing you a male (O my Goodness !), but maybe You know ?

Anyway if you are looking for information to get rid of these parasites for your belowed pigeons, I recommand you to check other sites… this one is dedicated to taxonomy, scientific studies and iconography of parasites (oriented on determination).

Thanks for your interest !

Nov 012015

Here is another feather mite which was firstly named by Edouard Louis Trouessart in 1885. This is the first image of this species on Google image at the time being.

Trouessartia bifurcata (Trouessart, 1885) is a member of the Trouessartiidae family created by the same person (you would have never guessed…). This is today still considered as a valid species by Fauna Europea.


Here are microscopic photos taken from a microscopic mount of the MNHN, Paris. One long seta of the “tail” is unfortunatly broken, but this problem frequently occurs during the mount.

The inscriptions on the slide shows :

  • Name of species : Trouessartia bifurcata
  • Name of host : Acrocephalus paludicola (aquatic warbler)
  • Locality : France
  • Date of collection : unknown
  • Reference of slide : 42E4
  • Collection : Trouessart
  • Sex : male
  • Other reference : trt-38

Unfortunatly nothing about the mounting medium…

Trouessartia is a large genera which is parasiting primarily passeriforms. Acrocephalus paludicola is a Passeriform of the family of Acrocephalidae (aquatic warbler in English, phragmite aquatique in French). A taxonomic work has been done for the family of Trouessartiidae by Orwig (1968) and Santana (1976), I would very much appreciate to get this synthesis, if you have it !

For this species you would say directly bifurcata means the tail is bifurcated in this species, unfortunatly I fear that this caracteristic is shared with a number of other Trouessartia species…

Trouessartia bifurcata is not yet illustrated in this remarquable site on feather mite : Nevertheless, this site indicates other bird species which can host Trouessartia bifurcata :

  • Barred Warbler (Sylvia nisoria)
  • Garden Warbler (Sylvia borin)
  • Common Whitethroat (Sylvia communis)
  • Lesser Whitethroat (Sylvia curruca)

If you have examples of Trouessartiidae to share with us, do not hesitate to send them !

Our thanks go to MNHN Paris for granting a free access to the collection.

Oct 102015
Neochauliacia simplex - parasite of Streptoprocne sonaris sonaris (bird)

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 : […]

May 192015
Chaetodactylus osmiae - parasite of Mason bee

Hello friends, This is a pest of different species of Mason bee (Osmia) in Europe. I am sure there are other species of Chaetodactylidae in Europe, but for the time being I found only this one. I made a photo in light microscopy of the whole acari, a detail of the dorsal cuticule, and a […]