There are over 10,000 described species of prostigmatid mites, but very few are actually known to cause disease. These mites are divided into 120 families, but only membes of 16 of these families are reported as having caused disease in mammals (Nutting, 1984). The most widely known species in this group are the spider mites that attack house plants and the red (or velvet) mites that are micropredators in gardens. The cat can serve as a host for three markedly different prostimatid genera. The genus Cheyletiella contains mites whose labial structures are highly adapted for hair-clasping, and these mites glue their eggs to the hairs of their feline host. The genus Demodex is represented by a group of mites with elongated bodies that have adapted to living within hair follicles. The trombiculid mites or chiggers are mites that are free-living predators as adults but the larval stage requires a meal from a vetertebrate host.


Nutting WB. 1984. Bioecology of prostimatic mites (Prostigmata). In: Mammalian Diseases and Arachnids, Vol I. Nutting WB (ed). CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, pp 143-166.