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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

2020 Annual Report

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.

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.

Progress Report
This is a final report for 8042-22000-271-00D. The new project plan is currently finishing up NP304 OSQR review. Substantial research progress was made over the 5 years of the project. Under Objective 1, more than 12,000 specimens of flat mites (Family Tenuipalpidae) collected from the Americas, Africa, Asia and Europe have been compared, including almost 3000 specimens in the groups Brevipalpus phoenicis, B. californicus, B. cuneatus, and B. obovatus. This work resulted in separating more than 12 species in the Brevipalpus californicus group, 4 species in the Brevipalpus obovatus group, and three species for the Brevipalpus phoenicis group. This will help eliminate taxonomic confusion in this important economic plant feeding mite group and allow more accurate identification of species that vector nuclear leprosis virus. Furthermore, with DNA and LT-SEM (low temperature-scanning electron microscopy) imaging techniques, key characters have been identified to resolve the phylogenetic relationship of the species in the genus. Mite specimens deposited in museums of the U.S. and Europe in the genera Tenuipalpus, Cenopalpus, Colopalpus, Pentamerismus, Phytoptipalpus, Ultratenuipalpus, Raoiella and Brevipalpus (ACARI: Tenuipalpidae), including material intercepted at U.S. ports-of-entry, were evaluated and studied. Scanning electron micrograph images and keys for important tenuipalpid mites, including species in the genera Brevipalpus, Tenuipalpus, Cenopalpus, Phytoptipalpus, Ultratenuipalpus and Raoiella, were accomplished. Under Objective 2, mites in the genera Tarsonemus Excelsotarsonemus, Daidalotarsonemus, Metatarsonemus, Fungitarsonemus and Ceratotarsonemus (ACARI: Tarsonemidae) were collected from the U.S., Costa Rica, Brazil, Peru, China or/and intercepted at U. S. ports-of-entry. Scanning electron micrograph images and keys for some important tarsonemid mites, including species in the genera Fungitarsonemus,Tarsonemus, Excelsotarsonemus, Daidalotarsonemus, Metatarsonemus and Ceratotarsonemus, were accomplished. Under Objective 3, several Prostigmatid and Mesostigmata mites, especially in the families Cheyletidae, Phytoseiidae, Laelapidae, Varroidae, Tuckerellidae, Eriophyidae and Tetranychidae, were studied. Scanning electron micrograph images and keys for some important Parasitengona mites, including species in the genera Quadraseta, Eutrombicula, Pseudoschoengastia, Herpetacarus, Leptus, were accomplished. Important findings, using the LT-SEM imaging system, on several spider mite genera, Oligonychus, Mononychellus, Bryobia and Bryobiella, were accomplished. Identification done during the last 5 years (May 1, 2015 to May 20, 2020) were: 1655 urgent identifications for 4502 specimens of ACARI; 784 routine/prompt identifications of 3513 specimens of ACARI; 4 ARS/IDA identifications of 56 specimens. This included 5 new invasive species records for Hawaii.

1. Systematic studies of plant-feeding mites associated with viruses. Studies on species in the families Tenuipalpidae and Eriophyidae associated with viruses have elucidated the genus-virus associations and their impact on several fruit trees and ornamentals. ARS researchers at Beltsville, Maryland, in collaboration with researchers at the Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), University of Maryland, Ohio State University, University of Arkansas, State Departments of Agriculture of California, Hawaii, and Florida, Brazil, Mexico, Peru, and Argentina are working on the identification of these economic invasive pests. This research has been used by scientists, agriculture extension agents, and border inspection agents to safeguard our country from invasive, destructive arthropods and diseases.

Review Publications
Lofego, A., Cavalcante, A.C., Demite, P.R., Rezende, J.M., Ochoa, R., De Moraes, G.J. 2019. Reinstatement of Metatarsonemus Attiah (Acari: Tarsonemidae), with description of a new species, redefinition of the genus and a key to the world species. Zootaxa. 4711(2):307-329.
Bassini-Silva, R., Jacinavicius, F.C., Pinter, A., Fournier, Giselle, F.R., Lugarini, C., Ferreira, A., Lima, L.M., Hingst-Zaher, E., Welbourn, W.C., Ochoa, R., Barros-Battesti, D.M. 2019. Eutrombicula tinami (Oudemans, 1910) (Trombidiformes; Trombiculidae) in Brazil: A neglected ectoparasite of several animals including humans. Systematic and Applied Acarology. 59(4):412-423.
Ueckermann, E.A., Ochoa, R., Bauchan, G.R. 2019. An amazing subcambium burrowing flat mite from South Africa (Acari: Trombidiformes: Tenuipalpidae). Acarologia. 59(4):507-530.
Jacinavicius, F.C., Bassini-Silva, R., Oliveira, G., Horta, M.C., Welbourn, W.C., Ochoa, R., Barros-Battesti, D.M. 2019. Description of Pseudoschoengastia petrolinensis sp. nov. (Trombidiformes: Trombiculidae) from Brazil, and new records of chiggers from northeastern Brazil. International Journal of Acarology. 45(4):227-232.
Jacinavicius, F., Bassini-Silva, R., Welbourn, W., Ochoa, R., Battesti, D. 2019. Synonymy of the genus Arisocerus Brennan, 1970 with the genus Herpetacarus Vercammen-Grandjean, 1960 (Trombidiformes: Trombiculidae). Systematic and Applied Acarology. 24(1):1138-1149.
Barros-Battesti, D.M., Bassini-Silva, R., Jacinavicius, F.C., Marcos, R., Ochoa, R., Raphael, V., Silmara, M.T. 2020. New record of Cheyletiella parasitivorax (Mégnin, 1878) (Trombidiformes; Cheyletidae) from Brazil with an illustrated species key to the genus. Revista Brasileira de Parasitologia Veterinaria. 29(2):1-9.
Bassini-Silva, R., Jacinavicius, F.C., Bouzan, R.S., Iniesta, L.M., Oliveira, E.C., Welbourn, W.C., Sundic, M., Ochoa, R., Brescovit, A.D., Barros-Battesti, D.M. 2020. A new species of Leptus (Leptus) (Trombidiformes: Erythraeidae) and new records of Leptus (Leptus) haitlingeri Jacinavicius, Bassini-Silva and Welbourn, 2019 for Brazil. International Journal of Acarology. 46(4):213-221.
Carrillo, D., Cruz, L.F., Revynthi, A.M., Duncan, R.E., Bauchan, G.R., Ochoa, R., Bolton, S.J., Kendra, P.E. 2020. Detection of the Lychee Erinose Mite, Aceria litchii (Keifer) (Acari; Eriophyidae) in Florida, USA; A comparison with other alien populations. Insects. 11(235):1-12.
Roy, A., Stone, A.L., Otero-Colina, G., Wei, G., Brlansky, R., Ochoa, R., Bauchan, G.R., Schneider, W.L., Nakhla, M., Hartung, J.S. 2019. Reassortment of genome segments creates stable lineages among strains of Orchid fleck virus infecting citrus in Mexico. Phytopathology. 110:106-120.
Castro, E.B., Tassi, A.D., Barroso, G.P., De Moraes, G.J., Ochoa, R. 2019. Redescription of Tenuipalpus coyacus De Leon (Trombidiformes: Tenuipalpidae), with a discussion on the ontogeny of leg setae. International Journal of Acarology. 45(5):280-295.
Sousa, A., Rezende, J.M., Lofego, A., Ochoa, R., Bauchan, G.R., Gulbronson, C., Oliveira, A.R. 2020. Two new species of Tarsonemus (Acari: Tarsonemidae) from Bahia, Brazil. Systematic and Applied Acarology. 25(6):986-1012.