Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
BG980 C9641 comp

BG980 C9641 comp
Barney Farm, Hwy 103, 1 mi. NW Washington, St. Landry Parish, Louisiana, USA
June 17, 2007
Size: body length 0.4 mm.
Genuine Chigger! On a recent fieldtrip, Jeanell inadvertantly served as bait for this creature. Two days later we harvested the catch. It was photographed with the Canon MP-E 65mm. 1-5x lens at 5x. We couldn’t get it to move until we turned up the music.
Proper placement would be appreciated.
Gayle (photographer) & Jeanell (bait)


I just came across this image while searching for properly identified chigger photos. Although I agree this superficially looks like a chigger, several other families have this same appearance. The easiest diagnostic character is the presence of multiple dorsal sclerites in most velvet mite relatives (scutum & scutellum), but only one in chiggers (scutellum absent). Of course, Walchiidae and Leeuwenhoekiidae also lack scutella, but they are a bit less common. Were you able to observe this individual under a microscope? If not, I think the familial identification should be considered a tentative guess, not a confident ID. That said, in the top-left image, I do not see a scutellum... so if I were pressed, I would weakly guess this was a chigger.

Regardless of the familial ID, unless the animal was keyed by someone with experience identifying chiggers, this species identification is doubtful. First of all, most authors place this species within Eutrombicula not Trombicula. Also, chiggers of Louisiana are poorly surveyed. The wonderful continuously updated list of North American chiggers by Walters et al (2011) doesn't even record E. alfreddugesi from that area. The only chigger records for Louisiana are as follows: Eutrombicula lipovskyana, E. splendens, Fonsecia palmella, Neoschongastia americana, and Parasecia gurneyi. That said, E. alfreddugesi is a widespread mite in the eastern US, so I suspect it may be in Louisiana. But again, given the known chiggers of Louisiana, and the complexity in identifying specimens, I am highly skeptical of either the generic or specific identification here.

Given all of this, I am removing this image from "Trombicula alfreddugesi". I am most comfortable placing this back within Trombidioidea, but given the lack of larval chigger images on BG, I will put it within Trombiculidae for now.

A final note of caution to all readers: chiggers as a whole are very poorly known, despite the abundance of information available on the internet. This means that most "knowledge" of chiggers should be firmly classified as misinformation. One would do wisely to be initially skeptical of all information not found in primary literature on chigger biology/identification. One of a million examples, the image for a chigger in Wikipedia currently depicts a larval tick... which are in a different order.

Need an opinion on an image a larval chigger found online

I might have to create a giant inflatable chigger. No kidding. I am looking for reputable images of larval chiggers to create our 3D model from, and as you know that are hard to come by. Could you take a look at this SEM image that I found on SciencePhotoLibrary and tell me what you think? Any other sources would be very welcome.

Many thanks!

I'm curious
Why would you want to make a large 3-D model of a chigger? Just to terrify people? I can understand there's a lot of misinformation out there, but after looking at the image you mentioned, those things are scary.

Bigger Chigger
Our museum is hosting an exhibit on parasites called Eww! What's Eating You? A few years ago we made a large inflatable phidippus mysticus to complement our exhibit on the macro-photography of Thomas Shahan. It was the most most photographed/tagged item at our museum ever.

Jumping spiders are considered somewhat cute though. And that inflated spider was totally amazing. Either way, it sounds great. Best of luck with the chigger. Thanks for responding.

Hi Tom,

The short answer is the mite in that image does look like a chigger. However, for building a 3D model, you will probably want more information. Send me an email (address in profile) and I'll elaborate.

Moved from Trombidioidea.
See Encyclopedia Britannica article link on Info page.

Moved from Mites and Ticks.


What Kind Of Music
Inspired a chigger to shake it's booty? Great sequence!

Best guess: Scotch & Soda by The Kingston Trio
When they sing "Dry martini, jigger of gin..." it sounds a lot like chigger.

Are you going to record this for the Bug Guide theme song?


I've never seen a chigger before (we don't get them up north... or at least not that often). I can see someone taking these photos and stringing them together to make an animated PDF file. :)