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Infrequently Answered Frequently Asked Questions (IAFAQ)

MB asks, ". . . I've noticed that the slugs have tiny little white mites crawling over them, some have 5 - 8 mites, others have more than 20. [Can you tell me] what the mites are?"

According to South's Terrestrial Slugs: Biology, Ecology and Control, the mites are likely the trombidiform mite, Riccardoella oudemansi, if on slugs and R. limacum, if on snails. These mites have a wide host range, with 31 species of slugs and snails listed, on which the mites may call home. Although the mites can be found off their host, they remain in the vicinity of the slug or snail, finding their host by following the mucous trail present. The mites make their living by piercing the tissues of its host for a bloodmeal. More information and a nice line drawing of an infestation can be found in the on-line article, The Slug Mite Riccardoella limacum (Acari: Ereynetidae) in New Zealand by Barker and Ramsey. [link currently not working. Will keep searching]. Very cool images are at the website pet snail & slug problem mite page.


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Robin Rosetta
Page last modified 11/6/08

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