Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Dermanyssus gallinae



Dermanyssus gallinae


  • Last modified
  • 20 November 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Vector of Animal Disease
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Dermanyssus gallinae
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Metazoa
  •     Phylum: Arthropoda
  •       Subphylum: Chelicerata
  •         Class: Arachnida

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TitleDermanyssus gallinae
CopyrightJohan Hoglund/SWEPAR
Dermanyssus gallinaeJohan Hoglund/SWEPAR
TitleDermanyssus gallinae
CopyrightJohan Hoglund/SWEPAR
Dermanyssus gallinaeJohan Hoglund/SWEPAR
TitleSEM of Dermanyssus gallinae
CopyrightJohan Hoglund/SWEPAR
SEM of Dermanyssus gallinaeJohan Hoglund/SWEPAR
Dermanyssus gallinae. Length, 750-1000 µm.
TitleAdult Dermanyssus gallinae
CaptionDermanyssus gallinae. Length, 750-1000 µm.
Copyright©John W. McGarry
Dermanyssus gallinae. Length, 750-1000 µm.
Adult Dermanyssus gallinaeDermanyssus gallinae. Length, 750-1000 µm.©John W. McGarry
Dermanyssus gallinae. Mites are often blood-fed and may appear black in colour.
TitleAdult blood-fed Dermanyssus gallinae
CaptionDermanyssus gallinae. Mites are often blood-fed and may appear black in colour.
Copyright©John W. McGarry
Dermanyssus gallinae. Mites are often blood-fed and may appear black in colour.
Adult blood-fed Dermanyssus gallinaeDermanyssus gallinae. Mites are often blood-fed and may appear black in colour.©John W. McGarry


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The poultry red mite, D. gallinae (De Geer, 1778), is a temporary ectoparasitic mesostigmatid mite of birds. Among blood-sucking ectoparasites afflicting poultry it is regarded as one of the most serious pests. It can be found in different kinds of housing systems, including aviaries, cage batteries and backyard flocks.

The name 'poultry red mite' is mainly used in Europe, whereas the name 'chicken mite' seems to be preferred in the USA.


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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Dermanyssus gallinae

International Common Names

  • English: bird, mite; chicken mite; chicken, mite; dermanyssus gallinae, poultry mite, infestation; dermanyssus gallinae, red poultry mite, in birds; poultry red mite; poultry, red mite; red mite; red poultry mite
  • Spanish: acaro de los aves; gallineros
  • French: dermanysse des volailles; dermanysse du poulet

Local Common Names

  • Germany: Milbe, Huehner-; Milbe, Rote Gefluegel-; Milbe, Vogel-
  • Netherlands: Vogelmijt

EPPO code

  • DERYGA (Dermanyssus gallinae)

Parasitoses name

  • red-mite infestation

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Metazoa
  •         Phylum: Arthropoda
  •             Subphylum: Chelicerata
  •                 Class: Arachnida
  •                     Subclass: Acari
  •                         Order: Parasitiformes
  •                             Suborder: Mesostigmata
  •                                 Family: Dermanyssidae
  •                                     Genus: Dermanyssus
  •                                         Species: Dermanyssus gallinae

Hosts/Species Affected

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D. gallinae is known from 30 species of birds and 10 species of mammals. The most commonly recorded are chicken, turkey, duck, pigeon, house sparrow, starling and canary.

Chicks and young birds are more sensitive to mite attacks, but there is no evidence for variation in susceptibility between birds of different breeds. In addition, there is no indication of the development of acquired protective immunity against D. gallinae infection. The mite problem can be found in all kinds of housing systems ranging from those utilized commercially to those used for backyard or hobby flocks. However, the mites spend most of their lives in the environment hidden in cracks and crevices during the day, and it seems that population growth is favoured if the aviaries offer hiding places where they can mate. Thus in commercial flocks the problem is less common in battery cages than in aviaries (Höglund et al., 1995). Temperatures above 45°C and below -20°C have been found to be lethal (Nordenfors et al., 1999).


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D. gallinae is practically cosmopolitan, with a wide host range. The primary host is chickens, but a range of other domestic and wild birds can also be infected (Moss, 1978). D. gallinae may also attack mammals, including humans (Hoffman, 1987). However, the host specificity of this parasite is unclear; some of the host records may be due to accidental findings and/or the occurrence of cryptic species. D. gallinae is an avian parasite. Other species, such as cattle, horses and dogs, have temporary and transient infestations only, usually when near to bird accommodation when high populations of hungry mites are present, and the avian host is not readily available. Most human infestation records relate to handling birds or when mites migrate from birds' nests after the fledglings have left. Although D. gallinae has been found worldwide, it seems to be the dominant species in Europe, whereas it is replaced by the related northern fowl mite, Ornithonyssus sylviarum, in most parts of the USA. There are only a few host records of D. gallinae from the Southern Hemisphere, and it is not described from the African continent.

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Last updated: 10 Jan 2020
Continent/Country/Region Distribution Last Reported Origin First Reported Invasive Reference Notes


EgyptPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
EthiopiaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
LibyaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
NigeriaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)


AzerbaijanPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
ChinaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
IndiaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
IranPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
IraqPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
JapanPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
KyrgyzstanPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
PakistanPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
PhilippinesPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
TurkeyPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)


AustriaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
BelarusPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
BelgiumPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
BulgariaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
CzechoslovakiaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
FrancePresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
GermanyPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
HungaryPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
ItalyPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
LatviaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
NetherlandsPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
PolandPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
Serbia and MontenegroPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
SlovakiaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
SpainPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
SwedenPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
SwitzerlandPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
UkrainePresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
United KingdomPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-Northern IrelandPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)

North America

CanadaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-QuebecPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
CubaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
MexicoPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
United StatesPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-CaliforniaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-FloridaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-MassachusettsPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-MissouriPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-North CarolinaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-TexasPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-WisconsinPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)


AustraliaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-New South WalesPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
New ZealandPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)

South America

ArgentinaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
BrazilPresentCABI Data Mining (Undated)
-Sao PauloPresentCABI Data Mining (Undated)
ChilePresentCABI Data Mining (2001)


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Collins DS; Cawthorne RJG, 1976. Mites in poultry houses. Agriculture in Northern Ireland, 51:24-26.

Durden LA; Linthicum KJ; Monath TP, 1993. Laboratory transmission of eastern equine encephalomyelitis virus to chickens by chicken mites (Acari: Dermanyssidae). Journal of Medical Entomology, 30(1):281-285; 13 ref.

Georgi JR; Georgi ME, 1990. Mites. In: Parasitology for Veterinarians, Philadelphia, USA: W B Saunders Company, 57-76.

Hoffman G, 1987. Vogelmilben als Lästlinge Krankenheitsserzeuger und Vektoren bei Mensch und Nutztier. Deutsche Tierärztliche Woschenschrift, 95:7-10.

Höglund J; Nordenfors H; Uggla A, 1995. Prevalence of the poultry red mite, Dermanyssus gallinae, in different types of production systems for egg layers in Sweden. Poultry Science, 74(11):1793-1798; 26 ref.

Jungmann R; Ribbeck R; Eisblatter S; Schematus H, 1970. Damaging effect and control of Dermanyssus gallinae and parasitic feather mites on laying hens. Monatch Veterinärmedizin, 25:28-32.

Lancaster JLJ; Meisch MV, 1986. Mites. In: Arthropods in Livestock and Poultry Production, Chichester, UK: Ellis Harwood Ltd, 289-320.

Maurer V; Baumgärtner J, 1992. Temperature influence on life table statistics of the chicken mite Dermanyssus gallinae (Acari: Dermanyssidae). Experimental & Applied Acarology, 15(1):27-40; 19 ref.

Moss W, 1968. An illustrated key to the species of the acarine genus Dermanyssus (Mesostigmata: Laelapoidea: Dermanyssidae). Journal of Medical Entomology, 5:67-84.

Moss WW, 1978. The mite genus Dermanyssus: a survey, with description of Dermanyssus trochilinis, n. sp. and a revised key to the species (Acari: Mesostigmata: Dermanyssisdae). Journal of Medical Entomology 14:627-640.

Nordenfors H; Höglund J; Uggla A, 1996. Control of the red poultry mite Dermanyssus gallinae. Svensk Veterinärtidning, 48(4):161-167; 15 ref.

Nordenfors H; Höglund J; Uggla A, 1999. Effects of temperature and humidity on oviposition, moulting and longevity of Dermanyssus gallinae (Acari: Dermanyssidae). Journal of Medical Entomology, 36:68-72.

Salisch H, 1989. Recent developments in the chemotherapy of parasitic infections of poultry. World's Poultry Science Journal, 45(2):115-124; 75 ref.

Zeman P, 1987. Encounter the poultry red mite resistance to acaricides in Czechoslovak poultry farming. Folia Parasitologica, 34(4):369-373; 7 ref.

Zeman P, 1987. Systematic efficacy of ivermectin against Dermanyssus gallinae (De Geer, 1778) in fowls. Veterinary Parasitology, 23(1-2):141-146; [1 fig.]; 15 ref.

Distribution References

CABI Data Mining, 2001. CAB Abstracts Data Mining.,

CABI Data Mining, Undated. CAB Abstracts Data Mining.,

Links to Websites

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Occasional biting pests of Missouri extension leaflet

Distribution Maps

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