Flat Mites of the World

About the tool

Is it a flat mite?

Flat mites (family Tenuipalpidae) are related to the spider mites (family Tetranychidae), and both belong to the superfamily Tetranychoidea. Every member of the Tetranychoidea has a characteristic pair of long stylet-like mouthparts used for feeding. These mouthparts are located towards the anterior of the mite, and each member of the pair is J-shaped (only visible once slide-mounted) (Figs 1-4).

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Figure 1
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Figure 2
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Figure 3
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Figure 4

Other distinguishing characters for flat mites include - palps without a claw present on the second last segment (Fig. 5a) (present in all other tetranychoid families (Figs 3, 5b)), two pairs of eyes, body usually with a distinct dorsal division on the females (sejugal furrow = distinct fold in body between legs II – III; see Figs 7-9 on sex/stage determination page)), and the opisthosoma with 5 to 13 pairs of setae.

Flat mites come in a range of shapes and colours (Fig. 6)

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Figure 5
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Figure 6