Chigger


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A picture of a Chigger
Photo by:
Jan Callagan/Phototake NYC
Chigger, common name for the six-legged larva of any of several blood-sucking mites. Chiggers normally feed on the blood of animal hosts such as birds, reptiles, and small mammals, but they occasionally also bite humans. Chiggers, also called redbugs, jiggers, harvest mites, harvestlice, and harvestbugs, are common in the southern United States. They are barely visible to the naked eye. They cling to grass stems and foliage and attach themselves to any animal that brushes against them. Their feeding causes intense itching and irritation but is usually not dangerous, although some species in Asia can spread the human disease scrub typhus. The term chigger is also applied to the chigoe of the flea family.

Scientific classification: Chiggers belong to the family Trombiculidae, order Acari, class Arachnida. The common chigger that bites humans is classified as Trombicula irritans.

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