Dermanyssus gallinae, the poultry red mite (PRM), is a blood-feeding ectoparasite capable of causing pathology in birds, amongst other animals. It is an increasingly important pathogen in egg layers and is responsible for substantial economic losses to the poultry industry worldwide.
Even though PRM poses a serious problem, very little is known about the basic biology of the mite. Here we review the current body of literature describing red mite biology and discuss how this has been, or could be, used to develop methods to control PRM infestations.
We focus primarily on the PRM digestive system, salivary glands, nervous system and exoskeleton and also explore areas of PRM biology which have to date received little or no study but have the potential to offer new control targets.