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Scabies Life Cycle

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In this article, we are going to study scabies, scabies insects, and the life cycle of scabies. We will also study the signs and symptoms of scabies, and the causes of scabies. After reading this article, readers will be able to tell

  • Scabies 

  • Scabies insect 

  • Causes of scabies 

  • Scabies infection

  • The life cycle of scabies

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Scabies: An Introduction

A microscopic mite that burrows into the skin causes the common skin disorder known as scabies. The primary sign of scabies is severe scratching, which is worst at night. A skin rash also develops in the locations where the mites have dug their way. The mite called Sarcoptes scabiei, which lives in the skin's epidermal layer in mammals, is the main cause of it. Understanding the biology of the mite, interactions between the parasite and the host, and strategies it adopts to get beyond the host's resistance has greatly increased during the past 40 years of research. A vaccine to prevent individuals at risk from contracting the disease, or at the very least, restricting its spread, is also being developed.



What is Meant by Scabies?

Scabies is a skin disorder caused by Sarcoptes scabies or itch mites. The symptoms of scabies are itching and rashes. The disorder is easily curable but spreads quickly by direct contact. Scabies mostly develop in the skin folds of the body.

Scabies Insect

Sarcoptes scabiei is the name of the scabies insect. They feed by digging into the top layer of skin with their front legs and jaws, where they release their eggs. The baby insects emerge after three to four days and migrate to the top layer of skin, where they develop into adults.

Scabies Mite

Scabies Mite

Scabies prefers warm areas, such as skin folds, the spaces in between fingers, underneath the fingernails, or the wrinkles around the breasts or buttocks. They may also be covered by accessories such as rings, bracelets, or wristwatch bands. This parasite, often known as an "itch mite," is spread by being near an infected individual. Sarcoptes scabiei is a parasite that can grow up to 0.35 mm in length yet is invisible to the unaided eye.

Scabies Life Cycle

  • The female mite lays two to three eggs every day beneath the skin after fertilization. The eggs are oval and can reach a length of 0.15 mm. In ideal circumstances, the eggs hatch in three to four days. Approximately, 10% of the eggs mature into adult itch mites.

  • The mite's larvae travel to the top layer of the skin when the eggs hatch and dig into the stratum corneum, the epidermis. As a result, molting pouches, the invisible burrows, are created. After hatching, the larvae have just three pairs of legs and live for three to four days. The larva later goes through a molt and becomes a nymph.

  • The mite has four sets of legs in its nymphal stage. Before becoming adult mites, the nymphs transition into considerably larger nymphs. The molting pouches are where you'll primarily find the nymphs and larvae of itch mites. Nymphs are also present in hair follicles and resemble adults in appearance.

Life Cycle of a Scabies Mite

Life Cycle of a Scabies Mite

  • The adult stage of the nymph is marked by the appearance of a spherical, pouch-like, eyeless itch. The length of the female adult mites can reach 0.45 mm. The length of adult male mites is double that of females. Mites only mate once during their life.

  • After the male mite has gotten inside the female mite's molting pouch, reproduction in mites takes place. The female mite is fertilized for the rest of the duration of her life after mating.

  • These fertilized female mites leave their molting pouches behind and move to the surfaces of the body in search of an appropriate location to dig permanently. The mature mites cling to the skin using pulvilli that resemble suckers and are connected to the two sets of anterior legs.

  • After locating the ideal location, the female mite penetrates the skin and lays her eggs there. The fertilized female can remain in the host for up to one or two months after she has seeped into the skin.

Scabies Infection and its Symptoms

The adult itch mite plaguing the skin is what leads to human scabies. The most common way for the scabies mite to spread is through extended, close skin-to-skin contact with an infected individual. In congested areas where close bodily contact is common, scabies can spread quickly. Because scabies transmits so quickly, medical professionals frequently advise treating every member of the family or any close connections.

Scabies Under the Skin

Scabies Under the Skin

Itching and tiny burrows created of pimples or blisters on the skin are sure signs of scabies. Skin creases are a frequent location for scabies. Scabies, however, can affect many different body parts. If you've already had scabies, symptoms could appear a few days after exposure. The scabies hive appears in many people. This hive produces tiny pimples that frequently line up. The bumps can resemble acne, blisters, tiny bites, or under-the-skin knots. Some people get scaly, eczema-like areas on their skin.

In the region of the mite's burrow, there is severe itching. The urge to itch could be more intense at night. It is simple to treat scabies. The scabies-causing mites and their eggs are killed by prescription skin treatments and tablets. However, the itching may continue for several weeks following treatment.

Interesting Facts

  • Scabies is the most common Infection and can infect anyone

  • It is a highly contagious infection that can transmit through skin contact

  • Scabies can be diagnosed by noninvasive methods just by looking at the rash

  • People who have weak immunity can get easily infected and will have a form of scabies

Important Questions

1. The itching disease, Scabies, is caused by which pathogen?

The itching disease scabies is caused by the human itch mite. Mites can burrow into the upper layer of skin where they can lay eggs and cause Infections

2. Does scabies Infections need contact isolation to prevent transmission of Infection?

Yes scabies needs contact isolation to prevent transmission of Infections to other healthy persons. These patients should be isolated till they are treated successfully.

3. In ideal circumstances, how many days do the eggs of scabies mites take to hatch?

These mites take around 3-4 days to hatch. After hatching these mites move to the outer surface of the skin where these mites mature into adults.

4. How long does it take scabies mites to reproduce?

It takes about 10 days for scabies mites to reproduce and make new adult scabies. First, it burrows under the skin and starts laying eggs within a few hours of burrowing.

Practice Questions

1. What are scabies symptoms?

2. Explain the life cycle of scabies

3. What is the lifespan of scabies insects?

4. What is the disease-causing pathogen of scabies?

Key Features

  • In this article, we have discussed scabies, scabies insects, and the life cycle of scabies.

  • Other parasite species, such as those that infect cats, horses, pigs, and other mammals besides Sarcoptes scabiei, also exist.

  • Scabies can cause skin irritation or inflammation, which can be upsetting. However, there are basic treatments for it.

  • Treatment for scabies includes antiparasitic medications such as permethrin. It should be administered every 2-3 for 1-2 weeks.

Last updated date: 01st Oct 2023
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FAQs on Scabies Life Cycle

1. Can animals be carriers of the itch mites to humans?

Scabies can never be spread from one species to another. It will not be transmitted from infected animals to uninfected animals, especially humans. The pets or animals have a unique strain of scabies that only affects animal species. A separate type of scabies mite that causes a similar disease, called mange, in animals that cannot survive or breed on humans can infest pets. However, there is a potential that a human could develop brief itching if they had intimate contact with sick animals.

2. What are the symptoms of scabies?

The first symptoms of scabies include severe itching, particularly during the night. In places like the elbows, armpits, forearms, knees, etc, an itchy rash resembling a line of pimples will appear. As the female mites migrate beneath the skin, there are occasionally very little burrows visible on the top layer of the skin. Others experience severe scabies rash. Sores can develop if you scratch the itchy rash. The sores could become infected. When a person acquires a severe type of scabies, crusts start to appear. The rash and itching worsen as a result of so many mites crawling into the skin.

3. What are the spots in the human body for scabies to grow?

Skin folds are a frequent location for scabies to grow. The most common locations for scabies to appear in adults are between the fingers and toes, in the armpits, across the waist, along the lining of the wrists, on the insides of the elbows, on the bottoms of the feet, on the chest, around the nipples, around the belly button, across the genitals, and in the crotch area. Scabies frequently affects the fingers, face, hair, neck, palms, and soles of the feet in young children.


In this article, we are going to study scabies, scabies insects, and the life cycle of scabies. We will also study the signs and symptoms of scabies, and the causes of scabies. After reading this article, readers will be able to tell

  • Scabies 

  • Scabies insect 

  • Causes of scabies 

  • Scabies infection

  • The life cycle of scabies