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 !

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 !


Sep 252015

I am sorry for the kind swallows and martins, but I find this flea particularly sympathetic, for unknown reasons…

This Ceratophyllus (Ceratophyllus) hirundinis species proudly displays a genal and a pronotal comb (see glossary on fleas). It is obviously part of the Ceratophyllidae family.

It is very common on the house martin (Delichon urbica), but can also be found on barn swallow (Hirundo rustica), on sand martin (Riparia riparia), Columba livia, Passer domesticus, Gallus domesticus, Ptyonoprogne rupestris and even… Homo sapiens !

It can be found in very different types of habitats, except strangely, in Great Britain, where the flea seems nearly only found in nests under eaves, according to Professor Beaucournu. If you find counter examples, please let us know !

The types of the species are probably lost, taking into account that it was first described by Curtis in 1826.

If you want to determine the species, the shown photographs will not be enough, a detailed examination of the genital parts is necessary (clasper, spermatheca,…).

Big thank again to Paul Leroy for the great mount and photos !


Jul 302015
Columbicola columbae - slender pigeon lice

Slender pigeon lice are primarily found in the feathers on wings of pigeons. It is the typical parasite for Columba livia, but many other types of lice can be found on it. Here are again remarquable photos from Paul Leroy of this very common parasite. This species is belonging to the family of Philopteridae. With […]

Jul 062015
Varroa destructor - parasite of honey bee

If you are interested in honey bees or mites you probably have heard about this pest ! Varroa destructor sounds like a horrible monster, a sort of Terminator of our familiar honey bees. But this pest exists from ages. It is true that human activities has spead this pest all over the world, probably except […]

Jun 152015
Ixodes ricinus female - castor bean tick

Have you ever seen such a perfect microphotography of a tick ? This is the astonishing work of Paul Leroy again. Here is a female of Ixodes ricinus, commonly called the castor bean tick, this name sounds funny for the French speaking guy I am… This tick has a very large distribution in Eurasia and […]

Jun 082015
Haemaphysalis punctata male

Hello world, Here is a ventral view of a male of Haemaphysalis punctata. This tick is widespread in Europe but can be found also in central Asia. The male has very long internal spurs on the coxas IV, as you can notice on the enclosed remarquable photo done by Paul Leroy. The tick shown appears […]

Jun 012015
Pthirus inguinalis (Linnaeus, 1758)

Our dear Linnaeus first described this species under the name Pediculus pubis. The first question I ask to myself is a little bit disrespectful towards our dear Linnaeus : where did he found his first Pediculus pubis ? You do not know ? Ok, maybe you do not know at all, where usually lives Pthirus […]

May 272015
Chaetopsylla (Chaetopsylla) trichosa Kohaut, 1903

Chaetopsylla trichosa is a member of the Vermipsyllidae and can be found on badgers (Meles meles) and fox (Vulpes vulpes). It is never abundant on its hosts, as compared to Chaetopsylla globiceps or Chaetopsylla homoea. It is rare or absent on mountains, it prefers low altitude. Strange ? Don’t you think so ? This species […]