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Common names: tarsonemids, tracheal mites, broad mite, tropical mite, cyclamen mite.
Probability of Encounter: Very high
Quarantine importance: High. The Tarsonemidae contains about 40 genera and over 500 described species. Important plant parasites are found in the genera Polyphagotarsonemus (P. latus (Banks), the broad mite, tropical mite, tea mite), Hemitarsonemus (on ferns), Phytonemus (P. pallidus (Banks) the cyclamen mite), and Steneotarsonemus (e.g. S. ananas (Tryon)on pineapple, S. bancrofti (Michael) on sugarcane, S. spinki Smiley on rice). Damage by species of Steneotarsonemus is typically associated with fungal infections. In addition to the plant-parasitic tarsonemids, others are pests of bees, forest trees, and mushroom culture.
Minute to small, oval, rounded, or dorso-ventrally flattened mites.
Idiosoma covered by 1-3 lightly to moderately sclerotized shields.
Cheliceral bases fused to each other and to the subcapitulum to form a stylophore-capsule; movable digit of chelicera stylet-like and partially retractable.
Palps greatly reduced and difficult to distinguish.
Trichobothria present in adult females and capitate; stigmata opening on the prodorsum.
Tarsus of leg I with a single hooked claw.
Legs IV of female 3-segmented, thinner than other legs, lacking tarsal claws, and ending in a whip-like flagellate seta.
Legs IV of male often thicker than other legs and bearing a single (often very robust) tarsal claw. Males with a slightly telescopic ‘genital capsule’ bearing copulatory suckers and the aedeagus.
Immature tarsonemids may be confused with eriophyoids, but have 3 pairs of legs
and a gnathosomal capsule. Members of other families in the Heterostigmata
are likely to be confused with Tarsonemidae.
Immature tarsonemids may be confused with eriophyoids, but have 3 pairs of legs and a gnathosomal capsule. Members of other families in the Heterostigmata are likely to be confused with Tarsonemidae.
Ecology & Distribution. The Tarsonemidae have the most varied ecology of the Heterostigmatina, sometimes acting as parasites or predators of insects (the most famous of these being the honeybee parasite Acarapis woodi), sometimes as fungivores, and sometimes as plant parasites.
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Crop Protection Compendium. 1999. Global Module. CAB International. CD-ROM.
Jeppson LR, Keifer HH, Baker EW. 1975. Mites Injurious to Economic Plants. Univ. Calif. Press, Berkeley.
Lindquist EE. 1986. The world genera of Tarsonemidae (Acari : Heterostigmata) : A morphological, phylogenetic, and systematic revision, with a reclassification of family-group taxa in the Heterostigmata. Mem. Ent. Soc. Can. 136: 1-517.
Lindquist EE. 1998. Evolution of phytophagy in trombidiform mites. Exp. Appl. Acarol. 22:81-100
Ochoa, R., H. Aguilar & C. Vargas 1994. Phytophagous Mites of Central America: An Illustrated Guide CATIE, Turrialba, Costa Rica.
Ochoa R, Smiley RL, Saunders JL. 1991. The family Tarsonemidae in Costa Rica (Acari: Heterostigmata). Int. J. Acarol. 17: 41-86.
Zhang Z-Q. 2003. Mites of greenhouses: identification, biology and control. CABI Publishing, Wallingford.