Microlichus americanus acariasis in saffron finches (Sicalis flaveola) with dermatitis and feather loss

Christy L. Rettenmund, Robert J. Ossiboff, Denise McAloose, Wayne Knee, Susan E. Wade, Jean A. Paré

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Over a 5-year period, 13 saffron finches (Sicalis flaveola) housed in mixed aviaries at the Bronx Zoo (Bronx, New York) were examined with feather loss and dermatitis, primarily affecting the nape, neck, and dorsum. Feather loss, hyperkeratosis, epidermal hyperplasia, and mixed granulocytic and mononuclear inflammation were identified in biopsies from live birds and tissue sections from postmortem specimens. In 10 of 13 cases, sections of arthropod parasites were seen histologically within feather follicles and along the surface of affected skin. Based on morphological characteristics, mites recovered from samples of formalin-fixed skin in 4 birds were identified as Microlichus americanus, an epidermoptid mite infrequently reported from wild birds and hippoboscid flies. Gross and histological lesions strongly implicate M. americanus as the cause of dermatitis affecting practically all saffron finches in the collection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)382-386
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 6 2015


  • Acariasis
  • Emberizidae
  • Epidermoptidae
  • Microlichus americanus
  • Sicalis flaveola
  • Thraupidae
  • avian
  • dermatitis
  • folliculitis
  • mites
  • passerine
  • saffron finches

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)

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