The role of volatiles in aggregation and host-seeking of the haematophagous poultry red mite Dermanyssus gallinae (Acari: Dermanyssidae)

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16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Infestations with ectoparasitic poultry red mites (Dermanyssus gallinae) pose an increasing threat to poultry health and welfare. Because of resistance to acaricides and higher scrutiny of poultry products, alternative and environmentally safe management strategies are warranted. Therefore, we investigated how volatile cues shape the behavior of D. gallinae and how this knowledge may be exploited in the development of an attractand- kill method to control mite populations. A Y-tube olfactometer bio-assay was used to evaluate choices of mites in response to cues related to conspecific mites as well as related to their chicken host. Both recently fed and starved mites showed a strong preference (84 and 85%, respectively) for volatiles from conspecific, fed mites as compared to a control stream of clean air. Mites were also significantly attracted to ‘aged feathers’ (that had remained in the litter for 3–4 days), but not to ‘fresh feathers’. Interestingly, an air stream containing 2.5% CO2, which mimics the natural concentration in air exhaled by chickens, did attract fed mites, but inhibited the attraction of unfed mites towards volatiles from aged feathers. We conclude that both mite-related cues (aggregation pheromones) and host-related cues (kairomones) mediate the behavior of the poultry mite. We discuss the options to exploit this knowledge as the ‘attract’ component of attract-and-kill strategies for the control of D. gallinae
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-199
JournalExperimental and Applied Acarology
Volume50
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Keywords

  • gallus-gallus-domesticus
  • carbon-dioxide
  • chicken
  • identification
  • temperatures
  • attractants
  • infections
  • pheromones
  • mosquitos
  • responses

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