Mighty Michigan Mites

One of the 1,100 mite slides found in the A.J. Cook Arthropod Research Collection. These mites were collected off of a chicken on February 29, 1896.  

Welcome to Notes from Natures – Terrestrial Parasite Tracker’s newest expedition- Mighty Michigan Mites. Mites (Acari) are common arthropods that occur throughout the world but they are often over-looked given their small size (< 10 mm). Over 50,000 species have diversified in a multitude of habitats and are associated with many animals, from mosquitos to humans.  Some species are pests of humans and animals. For example, scabies causes skin rashes and mange while ticks transmit a variety harmful bacteria. Given their importance human and animal welfare, the collection of mites in the A.J. Cook Arthropod Collection began in the late 1800’s. These early collections documented mites associated with domestic animals.  In the 1950’s the mites associated with wild animals and insects were surveyed in mid-Michigan which provides a valuable source of ecological information. Other gems, including tropical and name bearing specimens, are scattered throughout the collection. In total, these specimens represent mites associated with other animals and offers a window to their past diversity.

— Anthony Cognato

Professor and Director of the A.J. Cook Arthropod Research Collection, Department of Entomology, Michigan State University

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