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Tropical fowl mite

Scientific Name
Ornithonyssus bursa
Scientific Author
(Berlese)
Taxonomy
(Arachnida: Acari: Macronyssidae)
Status
Exotic Species Outbreak in Australia
Reliability
High
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Diagnostic Notes

This genus and species of mite are most often encountered in human dwelling when birds have nested in the roof cavity.  The mites feed on the adult and and nestling birds.  Once the birds have left the nest, the lack of carbon dioxide and body warmth causes the mites to leave the nest and enter the home seeking a blood meal.  They will "taste" human blood but cannot survive on human blood. 

Miites can live only for about 10 days away from the bird hosts.

The "taste biting" can cause irritation with rashes and intense itching which may result in secondary infections.

To avoid these mites, look for nesting birds around the eaves of buildings. Remove nests and discourage birds from nesting in or on building.

The diagnostic difference between Ornithonyssus and Dermanyssus is based on the position of the anal opening on the anal plate.

Ornithonyssus: Opening is at the front of the anal plate; the chelicerae are much stouter than in Dermanyssus

Dermanyssus: Opening is at the rear of the anal plate; the chelicerae are much less stout than in Ornithonyssus

There are 3 common species of Ornithonyssus. They are difficult to separated but can be distinguished as follows:

Northern fowl mite (O. sylviarum): This species has only 2 pairs of setae on the sternal plate; setae on the dorsal shield are shorter than those on adjoining integument; dorsal shield extends almost entire length of dorsal surface.

Tropical fowl mite (O. bursa): This species has 3 pairs of setae on the sternal plate; setae on the dorsal shield are shorter than those on adjoining integument; dorsal shield extends almost entire length of dorsal surface.

Tropical rat mite (O. bacoti): This species has 3 pairs of setae on the sternal plate; setae on the dorsal shield are of a similar length to those on adjoining integument; dorsal shield extends at most 2/3 length of dorsal surface.

More Information
Specimen Contact
Museum Victoria
Author
Walker, K.
Created
22/12/2009 01:31 AEST
Last Updated
22/12/2009 15:49 AEST
Citation
Walker, K. (2009) Tropical fowl mite (Ornithonyssus bursa) Updated on 12/22/2009 3:49:12 PM Available online: PaDIL - http://www.padil.gov.au.
Image Use
Free for use under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia License

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