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A wonderful discovery by scientists from the University of Gdansk. Exceptional parasites – science

A wonderful discovery by scientists from the University of Gdansk.  Exceptional parasites - science

Two new and unique moths of the Demodex family – discovered by scientists from the Department of Zoology and Invertebrate Parasitology College of Biology UG. The first of them – Miridex putorii, which inhabits a cowardly scalp, is not only a new species, but also a new species for science. On the other hand, Demodex pusillus is one of the smallest animals in the world.

Professor’s discoveries. Joanna Izdipska And the professor. Laszek Roulebecky and their associates are related to two species of the family Demodecidae. Scientists confirm that these mites have a worm-like shape which is unusual for this group of spiders, with very short legs and microscopic dimensions.

– Moth (Acari) is a small spider, which has a diverse structure and lifestyle, but like other spiders, they have four pairs of legs. Meanwhile, in Demodex mites, it is strongly reduced, in the form of a stem, and in juvenile stages it is almost invisible – explains Dr. Joanna Izdipska, a. UG of the Department of Zoology and Invertebrate Parasitology. Many small “spider veins” mites, Demodex mites are worm-like, delicate, usually elongated, and appropriately proportional to microorganisms inhabiting the skin or other structures/tissues of the host (eg hair follicles, ducts that lead to skin glands ).

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A mite with a very long mating organ

It turns out that Miridex putorii is not only a new species, but also a new genus to science (the generic name – Miridex – comes from the Latin word meros – strange, unusual, strange; Species name – botori – from botorius, i.e. cowardly). These mites inhabit the scalp of the common European rooster, Mustela botorius.

Scientists explain that its peculiarity is the extremely long mass organ (aedeagus, penis), which occupies more than 50 percent. body length.

– In moths of many groups, there are no such organs at all, then the males use different structures to fertilize the female. For example, in ticks, the male transfers sperm to the sexual opening of the female with his mouth organs, and male moths of other groups use alternate collective organs (gonopods) or even leave the sperm on the ground, from which the females collect themselves – says A. Joanna Izdipska.
In the case of Miridex putorii, not only the length of the genital organ is concerned, but also its location – its opening is located in the front of the body, in the area of ​​\u200b\u200bthe oral organs.

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Did they discover the smallest animal in the world?

The second discovery of scientists from the University of Gdask, Demodex pusillus, is also exceptional. The moth is one of the smallest in the world and probably one of the smallest animals in the world – the male is only about 60 micrometers long. [µm] = 0.06 mm in length.

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D. pusillus was discovered in Marsh bat Nyctalus noctula from Poland.

It is worth remembering that Prof. Joanna Izdipska and Prof. Rolbiecki conducted a study of all known species of moths from the family Demodecidae, including taxa from this group described over a period of 180 years, along with their geographical distribution and occurrence in hosts (Izdebska and Rolbiecki publication 2020).

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