The Common Mouse Mite, Myocoptes musculinus

Mites are a common problem in laboratory mice with somewhere around 33% of research institutions reporting at least one colony infection of mites (Mook and Benjamin 2008). The most common species being the surface-feeding species, Myocoptes musculinus (Mook and Benjamin 2008).

The most common species of fur mite in mice Myocoptes musculinus, photo credit: (Сергій амікус ест 2019)

The life cycle of Myocoptes musculinus ranges from 8 to 14 day with eggs hatching around day 5. Newborn mice are infected within 4 to 5 days of birth. Fur mite nymphs and eggs are transmitted by close contact of individuals or through infected bedding. The life cycle and hatching rate of mites vary depending on the species, with other species such as Mycoptes musculi having a longer 23 day life cycle (Mook and Benjamin 2008).

The effects of a mite infestation are varied and can include dermatitis, allergic responses, and immune dysfunction as well as behavior changes (Mook and Benjamin 2008).

Drugs such as ivermectin, selamectin, moxidectin can be used to treat mite infestations. Selamectin is similar to ivermectin but has been modified to improve its safety. Its is effective at treating a variety of mite species including is effective in the treatment of surface-feeding mite species such as Otodectes cynotis , Cheyletiella yasurgi and burrowing species such as Sarcoptes scabei (Mook and Benjamin 2008).

Some studies report a complete elimination of fur mites in just one dose of Selamectin applied topically while others required a follow up dose applied one month later (Mook and Benjamin 2008)


Mook, D. M., & Benjamin, K. A. (2008). Use of selamectin and moxidectin in the treatment of mouse fur mites. Journal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science : JAALAS47(3), 20–24.


Published by Ryan David Tuttle

PhD Graduate student studying Behavioral Neuroscience, Addiction, Stress, Behavioral Economics, and Individual Differences. Former member Ministerial Servant and Pioneer in a Spanish speaking congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses.

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