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Mites on hissing coackroach may benefit humans with allergies
Date:4/29/2009

ebris in crevices along the lower middle portions of their bodies for the mites to eat. The mites are in particular need of the moisture in the food meaning they eat up water and nutrients that molds need to establish themselves and grow.

The mites also obtain moisture from spiracles through which the cockroaches breathe. The mites cannot live anywhere else but on the surface of the Madagascar hissing cockroach. Chemical cues from growing nymphs offer signals that a new host is large enough to house a colony of mites. When a host cockroach dies, the mites wander aimlessly on the carcass until they die, too.

Whether the mites offer any benefits to the cockroaches remains to be seen. But it has been established that they do no harm. "The mites on the cockroaches have no negative effect at all. They don't impede their development and don't cause any parasitism," Benoit said.

For now, the scientists describe the symbiotic relationship as commensalism rather than mutualism, meaning just one species clearly benefits and no damage is done to the other.


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Contact: Joshua Benoit
benoit.8@osu.edu
614-247-5093
Ohio State University
Source:Eurekalert  

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