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These elongated, worm-like mites have stump-like legs. They are parasitic in the subaceous glands and hair follicles of humans and animals. They have modified piercing mouthparts. Members of the genus Demodes in the family Demodicidae attack humans.
Demodex folliculorum Simon is a hair follicle mite of humans. Matheson (1950) reported that it lives in the hair follicles and sebaceous glands where the life cycle is passed and infection can spread. However, it of little importance in spreading disease. Demodex canis Leydig infests dogs, causing mange, which is difficult to control. Reports on this mite attacking humans are not substantiated even given the close association with dogs in households.
Distribution of these mites may be worldwide but they are rarely found in North America. Other species in the genus attack a variety of animals such as dogs and cattle, and are capable of spreading disease. But they rarely are found on humans and apparently incapable of spreading disease pathogens if present.
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