Leptotrombidium deliense

There are very few known human diseases that involve pathogens transmitted by mites; the most important is tsutsugamushi disease, or scrub typhus, caused by the bacterium (Orientia tsutsugamushi) that is transmitted by several members of the genus Leptotrombidium (Family Trombiculidae) in south eastern Asia, Australia and the pacific islands (Mullen and Durden, 2002).

The life cycle of the mite includes 7 stages: egg, deutovum (or prelarva), larva, nymphochrysalis, nymph, imagochrysalis and adult. Of these stages only the larva (known as 'chiggers') is an ectoparasitic stage which feeds on a wide variety of hosts , whereas the nymphs and adults are predators of other arthropods (Makepeace B.L. et al, "Genomes of trombidid mites reveal novel predicted allergens and laterally transferred genes associated with secondary metabolism ", Giga Science, 2018). Larvae ingest tissue exudates via a feeding tube ('stylostome') that is formed at the attachemnet site, but which is extraneous to the larval mouthparts.

Strains, genome assemblies and gene sets

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