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Way to show mites

James Mahaffy mahaffy at dordt.edu
Sat Apr 25 17:44:44 EST 1998


	Thought I would share a demonstration that worked great for me.  I
have always wanted to see if I could find hair follicle mites.  I found
a way of doing it and it worked great. 

	Richard Miller (from Butler University) suggested a procedure to me
that he found in E.O. Wilson's book, Biodivirsity.  I pulled the skin
tight across the forehead and then had a student scrape the skin using
my trusty Swiss Army knife.  Richard uses a weighing spatula but the one
I tried did not have a sharp enough edge to pile the skin on top of the
spatula. I then put the material on a slide in a drop of immersion oil.
You don't need to look at them under immersion oil, the oil just
captures them nicely.  In fact I used only 10 and 20X so I would not get
oil on non-oil objectives.  There may be a bit of difference on where on
the face you get them. The first time I tried the middle of the forehead
and did not get any.  The second time we scraped right above the
eyebrows and added a scrape from the nose and I got three of them.  MAN
are they ugly.  There is an outside possibility I may have a slightly
different strain since I grew up in Eritrea, but I suspect US mites are
just as ugly. If I had not seen the eight stubby legs I would have
thought I had a worm. I did this with a microsope up front connected to
two TV screens for a large zoology class (70+) students and it worked
great.  It took a bit of time, but I am sure it will go quicker next

Thought this was something that some of you might like to try. 

James F. Mahaffy                   e-mail: mahaffy at dordt.edu
Biology Department                 phone: 712 722-6279
Dordt College                      FAX 712 722-1198
Sioux Center, Iowa 51250

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