Table of Contents
ISRN Parasitology
Volume 2013, Article ID 342918, 7 pages
Research Article

Morphologic and Molecular Characterization of a Demodex (Acari: Demodicidae) Species from White-Tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus)

1Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study, Department of Population Health, The University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, Wildlife Health Building, Athens, GA 30602, USA
2Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, The University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA
3Division of Migratory Bird Management, U.S Fish & Wildlife Service, Laurel, MD 20708, USA
4Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Gainesville, FL 32653, USA
5Department of Small Animal Medicine and Surgery, The University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA
6Massachusetts Veterinary Referral Hospital, Woburn, MA 01801, USA

Received 26 October 2012; Accepted 15 November 2012

Academic Editors: G. Mkoji, P. Somboon, and J. Venegas Hermosilla

Copyright © 2013 Michael J. Yabsley et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Demodex mites, although usually nonpathogenic, can cause a wide range of dermatological lesions ranging from mild skin irritation and alopecia to severe furunculosis. Recently, a case of demodicosis from a white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) revealed a Demodex species morphologically distinct from Demodex odocoilei. All life cycle stages were considerably larger than D. odocoilei and although similar in size to D. kutzeri and D. acutipes from European cervids, numerous morphometrics distinguished the four species. Adult males and females were and μm in length, respectively. Ova, larva, and nymphs measured , , and μm in length, respectively. For phylogenetic analyses, a portion of the 18S rRNA gene was amplified and sequenced from samples of the WTD Demodex sp., two Demodex samples from domestic dogs, and Demodex ursi from a black bear. Phylogenetic analyses indicated that the WTD Demodex was most similar to D. musculi from laboratory mice. A partial sequence from D. ursi was identical to the WTD Demodex sequence; however, these two species can be differentiated morphologically. This paper describes a second Demodex species from white-tailed deer and indicates that 18S rRNA is useful for phylogenetic analysis of most Demodex species, but two morphologically distinct species had identical partial sequences. Additional gene targets should be investigated for phylogenetic and parasite-host association studies.