Parasitology Research

, Volume 111, Issue 5, pp 2165–2172 | Cite as

Molecular study on three morphotypes of Demodex mites (Acarina: Demodicidae) from dogs

  • Manuel de RojasEmail author
  • Cristina Riazzo
  • Rocío Callejón
  • Diego Guevara
  • Cristina Cutillas
Original Paper


Canine demodicosis is a severe and highly prevalent dermatologic disease in dogs. Pet dogs can be affected by three recognized Demodex species that can produce clinical effects. In this paper, three morphological types of Demodex mites have been isolated from Spanish dogs. A complete morphobiometrical study of each one has been carried out. Morphological and biometrical studies revealed three closely related populations with some distinctive characteristics and could be identified as Demodex canis, Demodex injai, and Demodex sp. “cornei.” Furthermore, one population of D. canis from China, different populations of Demodex folliculorum from human skin (Spain and China), D. folliculorum from human eyelashes (Spain), and Demodex brevis from human skin (China) were considered to find out the level of variation between different species and geographical origin. The aim of the present study is to assess the usefulness of mitochondrial DNA molecular markers in establishing phylogenetic relationships and resolve taxonomic questions in Demodex mites. Molecular studies based on the amplification and sequencing of the 16S rDNA and cytochrome oxidase I mitochondrial genes did not show clear differences between the three morphotypes considered. Furthermore, phylogenetic relationships in Demodex mites were analyzed. The resulting phylogenetic trees show that Demodex species from dogs were gathered together, and populations of D. folliculorum from humans appear together in a different branch; however, D. brevis from humans seemed to be more distant. Our results show that cytochrome oxidase I region is a useful tool to solve different taxonomic questions at the species and population level and to infer phylogenetic relationships in Demodex species. However, 16S mitochondrial rDNA seems a good marker for comparisons at an interspecies level, but not at a population level in this group of mites. Furthermore, from genetic distance and divergence data, we would suggest that D. canis, D. injai, and Demodex sp. cornei are polymorphisms of the same species.


Canis Cytochrome Oxidase Sebaceous Gland Biometrical Study Demodex Mite 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Manuel de Rojas
    • 1
    Email author
  • Cristina Riazzo
    • 1
  • Rocío Callejón
    • 1
  • Diego Guevara
    • 1
  • Cristina Cutillas
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Microbiology and Parasitology, Faculty of PharmacyUniversity of SevillaSevillaSpain

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