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Gill Mites

Posted: Fri Aug 23, 2002 4:55 am
by Guest
Hi Crystal!Here is part of a message I posted to HermieTalk back in February. RE: Gill MitesThere is a type of mite that lives in the crabs' gill area. Occasionally the mite causes brown/black spots on the thorax of the crab. Sometimes it even eats a hole through the top skin of the thorax. I have one crab whose entire side of her cephalothorax is eaten away. When the crab molts, she will grow a new carapace, and hopefully not have this problem again. I rescued her about a year ago and she is still doing fine, and in pre-molt. However, since the mites are arthropods (same family as hermit crabs) no one can use any chemicals on the mites without killing the crabs. The only thing Don ever advocated for killing mites was a brief saltwater bath. But that was for external "dust mites" and even then, if the mites live inside the crabs there isn't much you can do. You never see the mites themselves. I have spent a lot of time sitting there, watching a 'hole' in the crabs' back waiting for a mite to come out and nada. Perhaps with the bathing and care we give the crabs, the mites die. Perhaps not. But this is one pest we apparently can't do much about. I originally learned about this mite in a pamphlet of information I got from FMR. The FMR pamphlet says that crabs have all sort of internal parasites that do not effect the crabs' health, and this is one of them. I take issue with that because "eating a hole in them" would certainly seem to affect their health, but the funny thing is, it doesn't! Crabs that are splotched, or holey or otherwise (like "Gillian" missing half her thorax) are otherwise active and doing well. So I leave them alone. Sometimes after they molt, they never get the splotches or holes again, and that's great. It's the most I can hope for.