An improved method for in vitro feeding of adult female Dermanyssus gallinae (poultry red mite) using Baudruche membrane (goldbeater’s skin).

Francesca Nunn*, Jessica Baganz, Kathryn Bartley, SA Hall, Stewart Burgess, Alasdair J Nisbet

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReport/ Case Reportpeer-review

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Background: Dermanyssus gallinae, or poultry red mite (PRM), is an important ectoparasite in laying hen, having a significant effect on animal welfare and potentially causing economic loss. Testing novel control compounds typically involves in vitro methodologies before in vivo assessments. Historically, in vitro methods have involved PRM feeding on hen blood through a membrane. The use of hen blood requires multiple procedures (bleeds) to provide sufficient material, and the use of a larger species (e.g. goose) could serve as a refinement in the use of animals in research. Methods: The in vitro feeding device used was that which currently employs a Parafilm™ M membrane (Bartley et al.: Int J Parasitol. 45:819–830, 2015). Adult female PMR were used to investigate any differences in mite feeding, egg laying and mortality when fed goose or hen blood. Effects on these parameters when PRM were fed through either the Parafilm™ M membrane or the Baudruche membrane alone or through a combination of the membrane with an overlaid polyester mesh were tested using goose blood. Results: Poultry red mites fed equally well on goose or hen blood through the Parafilm™ M membrane, and there were no significant differences in mortality of PRM fed with either blood type. A significant increase (t test: t = 3.467, df = 4, P = 0.03) in the number of eggs laid per fed mite was observed when goose blood was used. A 70% increase in PRM feeding was observed when the mites were fed on goose blood through a Baudruche membrane compared to when they were fed goose blood through the Parafilm™ M membrane. The addition of an overlaid polyester mesh did not improve feeding rates. A significant increase (analysis of variance: F (3, 20) = 3.193, P = 0.04) in PRM egg laying was observed in mites fed on goose blood through the Baudruche membrane compared to those fed goose blood through the Parafilm™ M membrane. A mean of 1.22 (standard error of the mean ± 0.04) eggs per fed mite was obtained using the Baudruche feeding device compared to only 0.87 (SEM ± 0.3) eggs per fed mite using the Parafilm™ M device when neither was combined with a polyester mesh overlay. Conclusion: The in vitro feeding of adult female PRM can be readily facilitated through the use of goose blood in feeding devices with the Baudruche membrane. [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish
Article number585
JournalParasites and Vectors
Issue number1
Early online date19 Nov 2020
Publication statusFirst published - 19 Nov 2020


  • Baudruche membrane
  • Dermanyssus gallinae
  • Goldbeater’s skin
  • In vitro feeding
  • Poultry red mite

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