The Lardoglyphus zacheri

Lat: Lardoglyphus zacheri.

Whitish, oval and can be up to 0.6 mm long. All legs end in double claws except the males’ legs where the third pair of legs end with two characteristic thorns and the fourth pair of legs end with single claws. This is a mite that lives on high-protein material and with a certain fondness for carrion, which is warm and humid. It seems that it has its centre of distribution in South America, but it probably also lives in small, hidden deposits in many other countries, in places where meat hygiene has failed. It is linked to abattoir waste, bone, skin, leather (for example chews for dogs), but can also be seen in charcuterie. In response to starvation, mites can extend its life cycle with an extra stage, the so-called hypopus stage, which is resistant to adverse environmental conditions, especially dehydration. In the hypopus stage the mites are transported around by larvae of flesh-eating beetles, typically leather beetles. High amounts of the Lardoglyphus zacheri cause meat products to curve, and they give meat an exuding coating that smells horrid and render the product inedible.