Infestation of two brown-headed cowbirds (molothrus ater) with the hunchback mite (harpirhynchus quasimodo)

Jessica Magenwirth, Nicole M. Nemeth, Michael J. Yabsley, Brandon A. Munk, Michael K Keel, Justin D. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


A recently described North American mite, Harpirhynchus quasimodo (Acariformes: Harpirhynchidae), was identified in a wild brown-headed cowbird (Molothrus ater) from Tennessee and another from Arkansas, U. S. A., during 2010 and 2011, respectively. Consistent with a single previous report of H. quasimodo infestation, both cowbirds had multiple skin masses composed of epidermal cysts filled with harpirhynchid mites, keratin, and cellular debris. Although very little is currently known about this avian mite, these three reports suggest that H. quasimodo infestation is a rare source of overt disease in free-ranging brown-headed cowbirds from the southeastern United States; however, further research and surveillance efforts are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)818-821
Number of pages4
JournalAvian Diseases
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2013


  • brown-headed cowbird
  • cyst
  • harpirhynchid
  • Harpirhynchus quasimodo
  • Molothrus ater

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Food Animals
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)

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