Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Mite Identification


QUESTION: Dr. DeAngelis,

One of my friends from veterinary school is trying to identify a mite that was found on a skin scraping.  It does not look like the typical dymodex or sarcoptic mange mites, but a cross of the two.  Here is the information she has provided:

I found this mystery but on a skin scrape from an intensely pruritic dog who likes to swim in ponds. His ventrum and legs were the worst, he was also red around his eyes. I treated him as though it was scabies but what the heck is this weirdo bug?!

Please see the attached photo as this is the best microscopic view she has and I believe she threw the slide away

ANSWER: Chris,

The shape of the specimen when mounted is often not a good character to base an id because it can be distorted by the mounting process. This looks like a typical (but distorted) demodex mite but you'd need high magnification of a properly mounted specimen to be certain. Absent more careful id I'd go with demodex treatments.

Jack DeAngelis

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QUESTION: Jack DeAngelis,

  Interesting as I have never seen a demodex mite have legs protrude toward the front.  My original thought was that is was a distorted dust mite of some sort.  Luckily, for most vets the treatment is the same!  She is just trying to figure out what it was on the dog as it is not the typical images you expect to see.

You might be right but I don't think this is a dust mite. Given where it was found (unless it is not associated with the lesions) it is likely either demodex or scabies mite and it looks more like demodex to me, at least at this mag.

Jack DeAngelis

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Jack DeAngelis


I can answer questions in any area of entomology (study of insects, spiders, mites, ticks, and other terrestrial arthropods). Contact me about home and garden insects, insects that bite and sting, and insects that damage homes such as carpenter ants and termites.


20 years as university extension entomologist, now retired; currently publish a website about home and garden insects.

see www.livingwithbugs.com/resume.html

Ph.D. in Entomology

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