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Tarsonemoidea: Tarsonemidae

Superorder Acariformes

  Order Trombidiformes

 Suborder Prostigmata

   Supercohort Eleutherengonides

 Cohort: Heterostigmatina

   Superfamily Tarsonemoidea

       Family Tarsonemidae


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.



Similar taxa.  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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