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Exploring Mites on Lemurs

Taeim Kwon, Michelle Mayakis, and Dr. Lisa Paciulli, Department of Biological Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695

Mites are small arthropods belonging to the class Arachnida. They are distantly related to spiders and scorpions. Mites can cause asymptomatic or symptomatic reactions in their hosts, with extreme cases causing and/or exacerbating disease.  Nonetheless, there have been few studies on the relationship between mites and non-human primates (NHP), including lemurs. Therefore, in this study, captive lemur hair was examined for the presence of mites. The hypothesis was that some lemur species would have a higher density of mites than other species, and that the sex or age of lemurs would affect mite presence. The study was conducted under the Duke Lemur Center (DLC) Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) blanket protocol. Hair from six facial and eight limb regions of lemurs undergoing medical attention that differed by genus and species was examined under a compound light microscope. Fifteen lemurs from nine different species were sampled from varying sex and age classes. The results showed that there were no statistical associations between lemur sex or age and mite presence. Also, five lemurs had mites, and crowned lemurs (Eulemur coronatus) had more mites than the other species. It is unclear why crowned lemurs had more hair mites than the other species sampled. The information from this study will not only contribute to the lack of knowledge on non-human primate mites, but also provide insight into the relationship between mites and lemurs. Future research should include genetics to identify mite species, as well as the health of lemurs with mites. Funding generously provided by NC State’s Department of Biological Sciences and Office of Undergraduate Research.




Additional Abstract Information

Presenters: Taeim Kwon, Michelle Mayakis

Institution: North Carolina State University

Type: Poster

Subject: Biology

Status: Approved


Time and Location

Session: Poster 2
Date/Time: Mon 3:00pm-4:00pm
Session Number: 2607