Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Help identifing mites



Aloha Erick,

I've found these all over my Moluccan cockatoo's cage, but they're not bird mites - thankfully! They're much too small. I have images taken through a microscope at different magnifications, but because the bugs were moving - even under a glass slide cover, fixed with both 70% isopropyl R-OH and olive oil (what I had on hand), my stills do not seem to have the clarity I achieved when shooting video. I tried to pick the best two stills, since that seems to be the limit of this interface.

If you don't have enough detail in these stills, I can upload video to a file sharing site. The detail is very good in the videos.

The mites are not fast moving, but they're easily visible because of their movement. They seem to be light beige to white in color, but under magnification, are largely transparent (see images).

First image is shot with both bottom light that my microscope provides, along with a secondary side light source coming in a a 90 angle.

Second image is bottom lit only, and has a grain of NaCL for size.

Hairs are very long, and extend dorsally, with quite a few anterior hairs as well. Long hairs also are seen under 100x magnification on each leg segment, extending from femur to tarsus.

There's a chance they came in a bag of food that I recently purchased for her, but I have been unable to isolate them in a feed source. I have (hope springs eternal) latched on to the possibility that they're some sort of hunting mite, and I am not facing a full-scale home invasion.

Thanks for what you do - I have a lot of biology under my belt, but have been unable to find an online key that tells me what these are....




Not sure why you are apologizing for the quality of these images.  They are wonderful!

Unfortunately, mites are not insects, and spiders are the limit of my knowledge of arachnids, so I cannot be of help to you.

Do try contacting a professional acarologist (mite expert), like this gentleman:


You can tell him I sent you, I have done that before.  He is very cordial and I'm sure he'll recognize what you have there.

Good luck, let me know the verdict if you can, or have Barry copy me in an e-mail reply to you.



Entomology (Study of Bugs)

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Eric R. Eaton


I answer insect and spider identification questions ONLY. Attach images if possible. No "what bit me?", "what do I feed this bug in captivity?", or science fair project questions please. NO TECHNICAL QUESTIONS ABOUT INSECT PHYSIOLOGY.


Principal author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America. Professional entomologist employed previously at University of Massachusetts, Chase Studio, Inc., and Cincinnati Zoo; contract work for West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, Smithsonian Institution, and Portland (Oregon) State University.

Author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Missouri Conservationist magazine, Ranger Rick, Birds & Blooms, Timeline (journal of the Ohio Historical Society). I have contributed to several books as well.

Oregon State University, undergraduate major in entomology, did not receive degree.

Awards and Honors
One of the top 50 experts in all categories for AllExperts.com, 2009.

Past/Present Clients
Principal author of the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Smithsonian Institution (contract), Cincinnati Zoo (employer), Portland State University (contract), Chase Studio, Inc (employer), Arkansas Museum of Discovery (guest speaker). Currently seeking speaking engagements, leadership roles at nature festivals, workshops, and ecotours.

©2017 About.com. All rights reserved.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]