In detail

The mite - Wanted poster


Surname: House dust mite
Latin name: Dermatophagoides
class: Arthropods
size: 0.1 - 0.4mm
mass: about 3μg (micrograms)
Older: 30 - 60 days
Appearance: eight legs
Sexual dimorphism: Yes
food: Body scales of humans
distribution: worldwide
Sleep-wake rhythm: day and night active
habitat: Pillows, duvet
natural enemies: Book scorpion, silverfish
sexual maturity: ?
mating season: all year round
oviposition: about 50 eggs
Threatened with extinction: No
Further profiles of animals can be found in the Encyclopaedia.

Interesting about the mite

  • The mite refers to a genus within arthropods belonging to arachnids.
  • With more than 50,000 known species worldwide, the mite represents the most species-rich genus of arachnids.
  • Fossil finds suggest that mites lived on Earth 230 million years ago and have barely evolved since then.
  • Mites are between 0.1 millimeters and a few centimeters large depending on the species.
  • Ticks, house dust mite and itch mite are among the best known and most relevant to human health.
  • Like all arachnids, the adult mite has eight legs.
  • Mites feed on each species as plant or carnivores. A large part of the mites lives parasitic. Many species use their host as a means of transport, as they can move very slowly, such as the ticks.
  • Mites colonize different habitats in almost all countries of the world. Almost half of all species live in the soil and can occur there in good ecological conditions in numbers of up to 100,000 animals per square meter.
  • As parasites, mites can transmit a variety of partially dangerous diseases. While ticks are particularly feared because of Lyme disease and tick-borne encephalitis (TBE), as well as the rare Crimean Congo fever, lesser-known species transmit typhus, rickettsipoxes and tularemia, among others.
  • If mites colonize the human body or its habitat as parasites, they can cause different diseases, collectively called acarioses. Among the most well-known diseases is the scabies, in the course of which it comes by the activity of the larvae on the skin to itching. Another common disease is a form of asthma, as after a years-long, untreated allergy to the house dust mite can occur. The allergic reactions, which show sensitive people, are not due to the dust, but to the excrement of the animals.
  • However, many types of mites colonize humans and animals without the appearance of symptoms. Mites can be detected in the lungs of primates and in the nostrils and plumage of some species of birds as well as in human hair follicles and eyelashes and in the respiratory organs of some insects such as beetles or bees.
  • Even in agriculture, mites exist as pests. However, many species are ecologically valuable and are classified as beneficials because they in turn decimate certain germs. These mites are therefore bred and are used, inter alia, in the production of certain foods.
  • The food spectrum of the mites is large, ranging from tissue remnants to fungi and plants to cereal products and carrion.