The sheep scab mite is the most important arthropod ectoparasite of sheep in the UK. The health and environmental implications of conventional control chemicals, together with increasing evidence of resistance to them, require the urgent development of alternative methods. It will only be possible for the new methods to meet these concerns, as well as being sustainable, effective and long-lasting, if their development is informed by adequate knowledge of their target. The mite has physiological systems which are well adapted to enable it to thrive on sheep yet none of these systems is fully understood. The proposed research will build directly on the knowledge obtained in two projects in the previous sheep scab research programme. The main objective is to establish the feasibility of obtaining and applying information on the basic biology of the scab mite to develop novel control methods which use non-toxic chemicals or biological control and avoid the need for chemotherapeutic agents. It will do this by a) completing the development of a method to rear scab mites, without infesting sheep, to provide a valuable supply of mites of known life-stage and age and in good condition, b) completing a preliminary study of the endocrinology of the mite to support development of the rearing method and to identify the most promising aspects to disrupt its life cycle, c) exploring the mite cuticle, which has been identified as a promising target for novel control, and d) developing an off-host bioassay method by which to predict the on-host efficacy of novel control approaches.