Cnemidocoptes mutans has an oval body, convex on the dorsal side and strongly striated.

The length of the larva is 0.1 mm, the female is 0.35 to 0.45 mm, the male is 0.2 to 0.24 mm.

Sexually mature nymphs and adults have 4 pairs of strongly reduced legs. The larval forms are six-legged.

Economic impact

The scaly leg mite infests poultry and other domestic and wild birds worldwide. It does not suck blood but burrows into the skin tissues under the leg scales, causing inflammation and exudation. It is more common in old birds whose legs become thickened, crusty and deformed.

The life cycle can be completed in 10 to 14 days and occurs entirely on the host. It is quite contagious and the birds often get the mites from the ground. It is uncommon in industrial operations but can be a problem in traditional and backyard chicken coops.

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