Permethrin as a topical acaricide cream is widely used to treat scabies. The neuronal voltage-sensitive sodium channel (Vssc), necessary for the generation of action potentials in excitable cells, is the target of pyrethroid acaricides such as permethrin. Pyrethroid resistance has been linked to specific mutations in the Vssc gene. Following the partial sequencing of the Vssc gene in the scabies mite Sarcoptes scabiei (L.) (Astigmata: Sarcoptidae), we compared Vssc gene sequences from permethrin-sensitive and -tolerant S. scabiei var. canis Gerlach mites, and identified a G to A single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in permethrin-tolerant mites resulting in an amino acid change from glycine to aspartic acid in domain III S6. The mutation is in a region of the gene where mutations have been identified in a range of pyrethroid-resistant arthropods. Results of in vitro permethrin exposure assays showed that survival rates for mites bearing the mutation were similar to those previously reported for mites from human subjects where clinical tolerance to permethrin had been observed. A real-time polymerase chain reaction-high-resolution melt (PCR-HRM) assay was developed to detect this SNP. This assay provides a useful methodology for screening for this and other mutations associated with permethrin resistance in scabies mite populations and thus facilitates surveillance for acaricide resistance. � 2008 The Authors.