Dragonfly TLC / First Aid

Has anyone ever tried removing those little orbs (ectoparasite stowaways, aka larval water mites or Hydrachnida) from dragonflies? Would attempting to do so kill the host? I’m remembering those gruesome scenes from the first Alien movie.

why bother removing mites? adult dragonflies live only a few months anyway…

I don’t know much about mites, least of all dragonfly mites. Do they cause significant hindrance/damage to the host? Even if so, I still wouldn’t, for the sake of keeping with the natural order of things.


Actually involved in research on them atm.

While you probably wouldn’t harm them by removing them, I wouldn’t bother with it. The mites mostly affect a dragonfly’s fecundity and not survivorship; unless they are heavily parasitized (I have a couple individuals in my dataset with nearly 200 mites on them).

I also second the opinion about not disturbing the natural order of things.


Wouldn’t consider removal and was just curious. On the other hand, removal to hatch them out and discover what species the parasite was, might be interesting.

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would they, could they, hatch? What would you feed them??

hmm. Identifying mites wouldn’t be trivial at all; in our lab we do genetic work and even then only classify them into OTUs not actual species. It would be really interesting though to see if you can get them to moult if you drop them in some water.

Interesting article : http://threatenedtaxa.org/index.php/JoTT/article/download/1793/3125

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