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A gallery of the key characters to ease identification of Dermanyssus gallinae (Acari: Gamasida: Dermanyssidae) and allow differentiation from Ornithonyssus sylviarum (Acari: Gamasida: Macronyssidae)

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      BackgroundDermanyssus gallinae (poultry red mite) is a major threat for the poultry industry and is of significant interest for public health. Identification of D. gallinae can be difficult for scientists not familiar with mite morphology and terminology especially when trying to use identification keys. Moreover, this species may easily be confused with another dermanyssoid mite, Ornithonyssus sylviarum (northern fowl mite), which often shares the same hosts and environment.MethodsSpecimens of D. gallinae were collected at poultry farms in the Puglia and performed for light and scanning electron microscopy observations, identification and micrographs. Moreover specimens of O. sylviarum were collected separately macerated and mounted on slides for light microscopy observations, identification and pictures.ResultsThe micrographs used in this study, based on LM and SEM observations, highlight the following important identifying characters of D. gallinae: the prominent shoulders of the dorsal shield and the jagged edges of the shield reticulations, the position of setae j1, s1 and the epigynal pores, and the presence on tibia IV pl of one seta. Additional micrographs highlighting the shape of the dorsal (abruptly narrowed posteriorly) and epigynal (narrowly rounded posteriorly) shields and the chelicera (elongate, with distinct digits) of O. sylviarum enable its differentiation from D.gallinae.ConclusionThe photographic support provided here (both LM and SEM pictures) can be considered a practical tool for scientists who are not well acquainted with the morphology of D.gallinae, and who are involved with classical and molecular systematics, veterinary and human health aspects of poultry red mites.

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      Ecology and management of arthropod pests of poultry.

      The worldwide spread of modern, high-density confined poultry production systems under the direction of integrators has intensified the importance of a select number of arthropod ectoparasites and habitat pests. This concentrated production of poultry provides artificial ecosystems that are sometimes ideal for the development of large populations of arthropod pests. At the same time the systems are amenable to integrated pest management involving a multipest and multimethod approach to reducing or eliminating arthropod pests. Since rodents are major pests, they should be included in an integrated pest management program to make the program most cost-effective and attractive to the integrators and producers (5). Quantitative data are scarce on economic effects, and the concept of economic thresholds is difficult to apply either to ectoparasites or to habitat pests. The risk of transporting ectoparasites among flocks is difficult to evaluate and necessitates treatment after early detection of the arthropods. Flies and litter beetles present a threat of disease transmission and the potential for lawsuits from neighbors or public health agencies that are factors not subject to easy cost estimates. The monetary losses of a flock devastated by disease or a farm forced to close are so great that the risks are unacceptable. Production losses from lowered feed conversion ratios and insulation damage are likely to be detected by the sophisticated record-keeping of the integrators. Minimal use of pesticides and other chemicals on poultry and in poultry housing is an objective of the integrators and, consequently, an integrated pest management (IPM) approach that reduces the need for pesticides is attractive. The key to further development of effective arthropod management programs for poultry is the implementation of pest and disease monitoring programs for the complete system. Improvements in arthropod sampling methods and more attention to monitoring the biosecurity systems to minimize ectoparasite dispersal are needed. The integrators have servicemen who regularly visit the production facilities and can be trained to perform monitoring functions and to instigate and supervise integrated pest management measures. With the increasing use of computers by the integrators, the prospects for utilizing the monitoring data in predictive computer simulation models for pest management decision-making justify more efforts to develop such tools (64, 102, 168). Future poultry pest management programs must be based on sound data, which presently is too limited, and must be flexible enough to adjust rapidly to evolving pest problems in rapidly changing production systems.
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        Prevalence and key figures for the poultry red mite Dermanyssus gallinae infections in poultry farm systems.

        Recent surveys and sample collection have confirmed the endemicity of Dermanyssus gallinae in poultry farming worldwide. The reduction in number and efficacy of many acaricide products has accentuated the prevalence rates of this poultry ectoparasite observed more often in non intensive systems such as free-range, barns or backyards and more often in laying hens than in broiler birds. The lack of knowledge from producers and the utilisation of inadequate, ineffective or illegal chemicals in many countries have been responsible for the increase in infestation rates due to the spread of acaricide resistance. The costs for control methods and treatment are showing the tremendous economic impact of this ectoparasite on poultry meat and egg industries. This paper reviews the prevalence rates of this poultry pest in different countries and for different farming systems and the production parameters which could be linked to this pest proliferation.
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          Influence of Dermanyssus gallinae and Ascaridia galli infections on behaviour and health of laying hens (Gallus gallus domesticus).

          (1) The effect of infections with Dermanyssus gallinae (poultry red mite or chicken mite) and Ascaridia galli (roundworm) on the behaviour and health of laying hens was investigated. (2) Six groups of 15 pullets (Isa Brown) were kept in indoor pens from 18 weeks of age. Two groups were artificially infected with D. gallinae, two groups with A. galli and two groups were kept as uninfected controls. The hens were observed for behavioural reactions and physiological changes (weight gain and various blood variables) to the parasitic infections. (3) Infections with D. gallinae resulted in reduced weight gain, anaemia and even death of some of the hens. Behavioural changes were also observed, as the mite-infected hens showed higher self-grooming and head scratching both during the day and night. (4) A. galli resulted in a lower weight gain but no significant changes were seen in blood variables or behavioural activities.

            Author and article information

            [1 ]Dipartimento di Scienze Agroambientali Chimica e Difesa Vegetale (DiSACD), University of Foggia, Via Napoli 25, 71100, Foggia, Italy
            [2 ]Dipartimento di Scienze delle Produzioni e dell'Innovazione nei Sistemi Agro-alimentari Mediterranei (PRIME), University of Foggia, Via Napoli 25, 71100, Foggia, Italy
            [3 ]Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale della Puglia e della Basilicata, Via Manfredonia 20, 71100, Foggia, Italy
            Parasit Vectors
            Parasit Vectors
            Parasites & Vectors
            BioMed Central
            30 May 2012
            : 5
            : 104
            Copyright ©2012 Di Palma et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

            This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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