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Mystery Insect Invasion

3246 Views 37 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  ryank458
I've got some kind of almost microscopic insect taking over my Cobalt viv. They are to small for pictures. The only time you can see them is when you mist. It drives them crazy and they all scurry around. The Cobalt doesn't seem to mind much but, I'm going to have to break down the viv just in case unless someone has an idea what they are.

Thanks in advance.
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I find that they don't seem to do very well in water. Maybe try some serious misting of your tank. Probably won't get rid of them but might thin them out a bit.
That depends entirely on the mites in the enclosure. Mites inhabit a wide range of conditions from fully aquatic to full terrestrial.. as an example check out
(I have to admit, I've only seen them a few times and never in that kind of numbers..(but I'm also still looking for the famous freshwater jellyfish..))

Ed
Hi Bill,

Interesting. The reason I was saying they need to be identified is because all of the ones that are in the literature as feeding on live frogs are trombiculid mites (chiggers) so it is possible you could have had a new species on your hands.
Did he at least determine if they were adults or nymphal mites?

Typically clearing up trombiculid mite infections can take months with repeat ivermectin treatments and manual removal. Simply stripping down the cage doesn't do anything to resolve the issue particularly if the adult mite is a feeder on organic detritus allowing for multiple breeding cycles in the cage.
Hey Ed, there were several sizes so I think there were several stages of life cycle present. They were Opaque or a milky-pearl color and very tiny. I could not see them unless I took the sample out in the yard under sunlight.
That's a lot larger and pear shaped. This bug is supper tiny and shaped a bit different. They are fairly quick moving. Thanks for trying to help!
Touch one with the tip of something small. If it jumps - it's a springtail. :)



I'm leaning away from predatory mites, btw. If it's not a springtail of some sort - it's probably just detrivore mites which aren't really a big problem unless you have a massive population.
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Not trying to steal the thread here but if what is in the pic is a mite, then how do I get rid of them. I know there are alot more in the viv and Im planning on getting some frogs for that viv in a few months so I need to get rid of them. I dont want to take the risk and have them be predatory mites and loose a frog. Please help.
Hey Ed, there were several sizes so I think there were several stages of life cycle present. They were Opaque or a milky-pearl color and very tiny. I could not see them unless I took the sample out in the yard under sunlight.

Very interesting Bill. Thanks for the information.

Ed
Not trying to steal the thread here but if what is in the pic is a mite, then how do I get rid of them. I know there are alot more in the viv and Im planning on getting some frogs for that viv in a few months so I need to get rid of them. I dont want to take the risk and have them be predatory mites and loose a frog. Please help.


Actually many of the dendrobatids are known to feed on mites.

Detrivore mites are pretty much inevitable in the enclosures as they can end up in the cultures in several different ways.

Ed
Thanks for the quick response. Though Im planning on getting some pumilio for this viv. Would they eat the mites?
Thanks for the quick response. Though Im planning on getting some pumilio for this viv. Would they eat the mites?
Yes, yes they do.
Thanks for the quick response. Though Im planning on getting some pumilio for this viv. Would they eat the mites?
I agree with Ed. Had a ff culture crash and my springs were getting low. I was scrambling to find something for my pums to eat (2 adults and 4 froglets in the tank). So, I scavenged mites from an infected isopod culture and put them in the tank. The whole family gathered around the pile of mites and devoured them. I was glad to have a use for those annoying mites. Win/win.
That depends entirely on the mites in the enclosure. Mites inhabit a wide range of conditions from fully aquatic to full terrestrial.. as an example check out YouTube - ‪Big Red Water Mites, Trombidiformes?‬‏ (I have to admit, I've only seen them a few times and never in that kind of numbers..(but I'm also still looking for the famous freshwater jellyfish..))

Ed
I've seen those jelly fish here in Indiana Scuba diving at a Rock Quarry! Very cool and worth finding.
So, I've decided they are springtails because they jump when you touch them. But, I wonder if there are too many? And I wonder why I've never spotted an adult one? They are to small to be eaten by a tinc. I still worry they might be crawling over the frog causing it stress. Not sure what to do with them.
So, I've decided they are springtails because they jump when you touch them. But, I wonder if there are too many? And I wonder why I've never spotted an adult one? They are to small to be eaten by a tinc. I still worry they might be crawling over the frog causing it stress. Not sure what to do with them.

There are going to be booms and busts of these over time. Unless your frogs are acting stressed (refusing food, hiding all the time, using thier hind legs to rub things off of themselves) let the boom die down on it's own.

Ed
They are to small to be eaten by a tinc.
I constantly see all of my frogs, tincs and thumbs, striking at microfauna that I can't see...
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I have pinhead brown mites that seem to eat detritus. All my frogs strike and eat them. Sometimes there is a lot but the frogs just sit there and buffet. Microfauna Sizzler.
Since I wasn't exactly sure what they were, they were to tiny to eat, there where hundreds of them, and my frog has been hiding more then what's normal...... I decided to kill them little critters! It went really well and it was surprisingly easy and cheap. Other than having to move a frog out of it's home its a peice of cake using CO2 method. It cost about $2 bucks for dry ice at Meijer. Threw it in two cups and put those cups in the viv and dumped hot water on it. Death to all micro fauna! Hopefully when they make their reappearance it will be on a more controlled basis.

Thanks to all that lent there knowledge. Here's a link to the article I followed if someone else needs to give this method a whirl.

Dart Frog Forum on Husbandry and Habitat Information - Eliminating Vivarium Pests Using the CO2 method

Thanks!
Mites do not jump. Springtails do. Springtails are a valuable and natural part of our vivs that should be left alone or encouraged. They work as janitors, cleaning up your frogs poop along with molding and decomposing leaves etc. They are a natural source of food that even most larger frogs enjoy hunting.
Yes, I understand what springtails are and what they do. My concern was for the quanity of them. There were hundreds if not thousands covering every surface of the viv including the frog.
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