There are many species of reptile parasites but the most common is Ophionyssus natricis better know under the name snake mite. This frequent parasite seems to be linked with captivity since no publications report on its natural occurrence. Lizards are more frequently parasitized by other acari species such as Pterygosoma or Zonurobia which settle themselves under the scale of agama, iguana or gecko species.

Those parasites are detected visually and look like mobile black spot smaller than 1 mm. When present they can easily be found in water basin, animals and on hands after having manipulated animals. Infected animals are often agitated, search for scratching surface or lid in water trying to get rid of pests.

Consequence of those parasites can be harmful for animals if nothing is done. Indeed parasites are blood suckers
which trigger anemia or virus and bacteria transmissions.

Life history traits of Ophionyssus natricis:

Relative humidity and temperature are important factors for development of the mites. High relative humidity and temperature around 25 C° will increase the speed of the parasite cycle. Temperature above 60°C or inferior at 0°C during few days has deleterious impact. Very low humidity level blocks the eggs hatching (when < 20%).

Le cycle :

Nymphs are very mobile and less visible than adults because colourless. Males are very similar to deutonymph when adult females are much bigger than other stage and brown-black coloured. Females lay their eggs in the substrate and sometimes between reptile scales. Eggs are round and white-transparent. Female are able to lay more than 50 eggs during their life which makes a very fast infestation possible.