Submitted to: American Entomologist
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 19, 2011
Publication Date: March 15, 2011
Citation: Ochoa, R., Beard, J.J., Bauchan, G.R., Kane, E.C., Dowling, A.G. 2011. Herbivore exploits chink in armor of host. American Entomologist. 57(1):26-29.
Interpretive Summary: Plant feeding mites cause severe damage to agricultural crops around the world, costing many millions of dollars annually. This scientific paper addresses the feeding behavior of several species in the Red Palm Mite group. Red Palm Mite is consider one of the most important invasive flat mite species that attacks palms world wide. This work is important to Federal and State plant quarantine officers, plant protection, extension workers and state agriculture departments.
Mites in the genus Raoiella Hirst are obligate plant parasites that feed via stylet-like mouthparts adapted to pierce plant tissues. A species of particular interest in this genus, the red palm mite, R. indica Hirst, is currently spreading aggressively throughout the Americas on species of palm (Arecaceae). Using low temperature scanning electron microscopy, R. indica and several other species in this genus were observed for the first time feeding via the stomatal aperture of host plants in several different families. Stomatal feeding could negatively affect the plant’s ability to regulate gas and water exchange.