Ornithonyssus bursa

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Ornithonyssus bursa
Scientific classification
O. bursa
Binomial name
Ornithonyssus bursa
(Berlese, 1888)

Ornithonyssus bursa (also known as the tropical fowl mite) is a species of mite.[1][2][3] It is most often a parasite of birds, but also has been found to bite humans and two species of mammals.[4] It usually lives in birds' feathers, but for laying its eggs, it more often uses their nests rather than their feathers. Tropical fowl mites undergo five stages during their development: egg, larva, protonymph, deutonymph, and adult. During the last two stages, they suck blood from their host for food. They are often diurnal, whereas northern fowl mites are nocturnal in nature.[5]


O. bursa has been described under the following synonyms, which are no longer used:[5]

  • Leiognathus bursa Berlese (1888)
  • Liponyssus bursa Hirst (1916)
  • Ornithonyssus bursa Sambon (1928)


O. bursa has four pairs of legs, three of which are located on the sternal plate. Towards its posterior end, its body narrows slightly. These two features distinguish it from another member of the genus, Ornithonyssus sylviarum, whose posterior end narrows considerably and which possesses only two pairs of legs on its sternal plate.[4]

Effects on humans[edit]

O. bursa can move from birds' nests into human homes.[4] It also infests domestic fowl and can spread to humans handling fowl. Its bites cause small, irritating skin lesions and in some people, intense skin inflammation.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Denmark, H. A., & Cromroy, H. L. (2012). Tropical Fowl Mite, Ornithonyssus bursa (Berlese)(Arachnida: Acari: Macronyssidae). University of Florida. Fact Sheet EENY-297.
  2. ^ Ewen JG, Thorogood R, Brekke P, Cassey P, Karadas F, Armstrong DP (August 2009). "Maternally invested carotenoids compensate costly ectoparasitism in the hihi". Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 106 (31): 12798–802. doi:10.1073/pnas.0902575106. PMC 2722293. PMID 19620733.
  3. ^ Mascarenhas CS, Coimbra MA, Müller G, Brum JG (Oct–Dec 2009). "Occurrence of Ornithonyssus bursa (Berlese, 1888) (Acari: Macronyssidae) on Megascops choliba (tropical screech-owl) and Pitangus sulphuratus (great kiskadee) nestlings in the Rio Grande do Sul State, Brazil]". Rev Bras Parasitol Vet. (in Portuguese). 18 (4): 69–70. PMID 20040213.
  4. ^ a b c Denmark, H. A.; Comroy, H. L. (2012). Gillett-Kaufman, J. L. (ed.). "Tropical fowl mite". Featured creatures. University of Florida. Archived from the original on 5 September 2014. Retrieved 9 August 2015.
  5. ^ a b c Shapiro, Leo (2012). "Ornithonyssus bursa. Tropical fowl mite". Encyclopedia of life. Archived from the original on 19 March 2014. Retrieved 9 August 2015.