Scabies, a mite infestation frequently sexually transmitted, dates back to antiquity but remains a challenging parasite for study in clinical practice and community settings. Its history is one of centuries of slow progress to recognize the mite and to finally establish its nexus to the clinical syndrome of pruritis with several protean manifestations and different epidemiological patterns. Contemporary methods of management are briefly reviewed, with the future promise of improved evolutionary knowledge associated with the advent of molecular and genetic technology. Current information indicates that humans and earlier protohumans were most likely the source of animal scabies, first of dogs, and later of other species with subsequent spread to wildlife. Morphologically identical variants of Sarcoptes scabiei are nonetheless host specific, as determined by recent DNA studies, and invite future investigations into the dynamics of this troublesome sexually transmissible agent, with the goal of improved recognition and control.