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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Systematic Entomology Laboratory » Research » Research Project #429274

Research Project: Plant Feeding Mite (Acari) Systematics

Location: Systematic Entomology Laboratory

2018 Annual Report


1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
Objective 1: Develop accurate species concepts within the Tenuipalpidae (flat mites) using a holistic approach based on morphological and ecological data. Objective 2: Develop accurate species concepts within the Tarsonemidae (white mites) through discovery of new characters for species separation and subsequent systematic relationships. Objective 3: Coordinate the process of incoming and outgoing arthropod specimens and identifications, and maintain SELIS (Systematic Entomology Laboratory Identification Service), the on-line identification database on agriculturally important arthropods, for use in quarantine, conservation, pest management, and other ARS research programs.


1b. Approach (from AD-416):
Morphological characters will be identified through the examination of specimens (~2500 slides) located at the National Mite Collection and specimens collected from the Americas, Australia and China. Observation of the specimens will use dissecting, Differential Interference Contrast (DIC), Phase Contrast, Confocal Laser Scanning Microscopy (CLSM), Variable Pressure Scanning Electron Microscopy (VP-SEM), and Low Temperature Scanning Electron Microscopy (LT-SEM). Recognized morphological characters of several mite genera in the families Tarsonemidae and Tenuipalpidae will be identified, quantified, and used to develop hypotheses of phylogenetic relationships among higher level taxa. The characters will be evaluated using modern phylogenetic programs. The resulting phylogenies will be used to develop natural, robust classifications of higher level taxa among and within these four families.


3. Progress Report:
100+ specimens of Brevipalpus have had DNA extracted. DNA sequences have been compared with other Brevipalpus spp. sequences to help determine species boundries. This initial work has determined that the Brevipalpus californicus Group represents a species complex. This work provides important first steps to help resolve species identification in the critical role in ascertaining which species are having economic impact and points to the correct species vector of nuclear leprosis virus. Continued research has been accomplished on mites in the genus Tenuipalpus, Raoiella and Brevipalpus (ACARI: Tenuipalpidae) intercepted at ports of entry or mites important in plant protection programs. Scanning electron micrograph images and keys for some important tenuipalpid mites (including species in the genus Brevipalpus, Tenuipalpus, Colopalpus and Raoiella) were accomplished. Continued research has been accomplished on mites in the genus Tarsonemus Excelsotarsonemus, Daidalotarsonemus, Metatarsonemus, Suctarsonemus, Deleonia and Ceratotarsonemus (Acari: Tarsonemidae) collected in the U.S.A., Costa Rica, Brazil, China and/or intercepted at ports-of-entry. Scanning electron micrograph images and keys for some important tarsonemid mites (including species in the genus Tarsonemus Excelsotarsonemus, Daidalotarsonemus,Deleonia, Metatarsonemus and Ceratotarsonemus were accomplished. Continued research has been accomplished on prostigmatid mites, in special on the families Tuckerellidae, Eriophyidae and Tetranychidae. Important new findings under the LT SEM on clover spider mites (Bryobia) were accomplished. The project provided 319 “Urgent” identifications (<24 hour turn-around)for a total of 3203 specimens of ACARI as of 1 June 2018; 39 routine/prompts identifications with 723 specimens of ACARI as of 1 June 2018. These identifications had major regulatory and quarantine ramifications in protecting American agriculture.


4. Accomplishments
1. Systematic studies of plant feeding mites in the families Tarsonemidae, Tenuipalpidae, Tetranychidae and Eriophyiidae have been accomplished. Continuous studies on Brevipalpus species associated with Cytoplasmatic and Nuclear leprosis citrus viruses are helping to understand the genus-virus associations and impact on several fruit trees. ARS researchers at Beltsville, Maryland, in collaboration with researchers from the U.S. (Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Florida, California, and Texas), Brazil, Mexico, and Australia are working on the identification of the mites that feed on citrus and related fruit trees. Extensive observations and measurements of mites collected worldwide were studied using special types of microscopes and microscopy techniques (e.g. low temperature scanning electron microscopy that allows for instant immobilization of a specimen and ultra-high magnification and resolution of critical structures) which allowed the researchers to define characteristic structures and patterns for the correct identification of the mites. The information has been disseminated in several publications and an on-line web page which has thousands of visits/year from more than 180 countries. This research will be used by scientists, fruit tree growers, and border inspection agents to safeguard our country from invasive, destructive arthropods and diseases.


Review Publications
Hermandes, F.A., Bauchan, G.R., Ochoa, R. 2017. New and little known feather mites (Acari). Parasitology Research. 43(7):499-517.

Rezende, J.M., Ochoa, R., Lofego, A. 2017. Redescription of Suctarsonemus litteratus (Mahunka, 1973) (Prostigmata: Tarsonemidae). International Journal of Acarology. 43(8):582-593.

Childers, C.C., De Lillo, E., Bauchan, G.R., Rogers, M.E., Ochoa, R., Robinson, C. 2018. The external morphology of the mouthparts, and observations on feeding and behavior of Tuckerella japonica on Camellia sinensis in the continental United States. Experimental and Applied Acarology. 74(1):55-71.

Metz, M., Miller, D.R., Dickey, A.M., Bauchan, G.R., Ochoa, R., Skvarla, M.J., Miller, G.L. 2017. Rediscovering digitules in Aphidomorpha and the question of homology among Sternorrhyncha (Insecta: Hemiptera). ZooKeys. 4276(1):139-144.

De Araujo, M.S., Bichuette, M.E., Bauchan, G.R., Ochoa, R., Feres, R.F. 2018. A new species of cave dwelling Neocarus (Acari: Opilioacaridae) from Bahia State, Brazil, with remarks on taxonomic characters. Zootaxa. 4402:303-322.

Jacinavicius, F.C., Bassini-Silva, R., Munoz-Leal, S., Hingst-Zaher, E., Ochoa, R., Bauchan, G.R., Barros-Battesti, D.M. 2018. Quadraseta brasiliensis Goff & Gettinger, 1 1989 (Acari: Trombidiformes: Trombiculidae): neotype designation, redescription of larva and description of deutonymph. Acarology International Congress Proceedings. 58(2):442-456.

Klimov, P., Oconnor, B.M., Chetverikov, P.E., Bolton, S.J., Amir, R., Abdolazim, L., Andrey, V., Bauchan, G.R., Ochoa, R. 2018. Comprehensive phylogeny of acariform mites (Acariformes) provides insights on the origin of the four-legged mites (Eriophyoidea). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 119:105-117.

Sousa, A.G., Rezende, J.M., Lofego, A., Ochoa, R., Oliveira, A.R. 2018. Daidalotarsonemus and Excelsotarsonemus (Acari: Tarsonemidae) in “cabruca” agroecosystems from Brazil, with description of a new species. International Journal of Acarology. 44(2-3):68-79.

Castro, E.B., Beard, J.J., Ochoa, R., Feres, R. 2018. Redescription of Tenuipalpus palosapis Corpuz-Raros (Trombidiformes: Tenuipalpidae) from the Philippines, with comparison to related species. International Journal of Acarology. 44(1-2):80-89.

Castro, E.B., Zanardi, O.C., Garlet, J., Ochoa, R., Feres, R. 2018. Notes on the occurrence of Oligonychus milleri (McGregor) and Oligonychus ununguis (Jacobi) (Acari: Tetranychidae) in Brazil. Neotropical Entomology. 47:429-432.