What are the characteristics of the S scabiei hominis mite that causes scabies in humans?

Updated: Oct 13, 2020
  • Author: Megan Barry, MD; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
  • Print
Answer

The S scabiei hominis mite that infects humans is female and is large enough (0.3-0.4 mm long) to be seen with the naked eye. (The male is about half this size.) The mite has 4 pairs of legs and crawls at a rate of 2.5 cm/min; it is unable to fly or jump. [9] Although its life cycle occurs completely on the host, the mite is able to live on bedding, clothes, or other surfaces at room temperature for 2-3 days, while remaining capable of infestation and burrowing. At temperatures below 20°C, S scabiei are immobile, although they can survive such temperatures for extended periods. (See the image below.)

Scabies preparation demonstrating a mite and ova. Scabies preparation demonstrating a mite and ova. Courtesy of William D. James, MD.

Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!