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Title: Revision of the “Gliding White Mites” (Tarsonemidae: Daidalotarsonemus and Excelsotarsonemus)

item Ochoa, Ronald - Ron
item Bauchan, Gary

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/1/2014
Publication Date: 7/13/2014
Citation: Rezende, J.M., Ochoa, R., Lofego, A.C., Bauchan, G.R. 2014. Revision of the “Gliding White Mites” (Tarsonemidae: Daidalotarsonemus and Excelsotarsonemus). Meeting Abstract. 91.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The genus Daidalotarsonemus comprises 25 described species and is one of the few genera of tarsonemids that are known to occur worldwide; whereas the genus Excelsotarsonemus is a poorly known genus with three described species from Central America. Both genera are commonly found in the canopies of rainforests. The taxonomy and identification of species in these genera has been hampered by a poor understanding of their morphology which has sometimes led to a misinterpretation of characters and erroneous species identifications. Phase Contrast, Differential Interference Contrast and Low Temperature Scanning Electron Microscopy (LT-SEM) techniques were used to analyze specimens of these genera deposited in the Smithsonian Mite Collection (USA), UNESP Acari Collection (Brazil) and several other museums around the world. Twenty five new species of Daidalotarsonemus from the Americas, Asia and Oceania and three new species of Excelsotarsonemus from South America were discovered in the study. Based on the position of setae c1 and shape of the tegula of the females, it was determined that Daidalotarsonemus can be split in two species groups. Similarly, Excelsotarsonemus can be divided in two different groups based on the modifications in the e and f setae in females. Using the LT-SEM, we were able to observe for the first time a wax-like substance covering the tegument in both genera. Fungi and bacteria were often attached to this wax substance on the dorsal tegument, a finding that has important biological and agricultural implications. Finally, both genera, especially Excelsotarsonemus, have some dorsal setae (d-e-f ) with very broad and intricate folding patterns. These sail-like setae probably allow the mites to become airborne, glide within the forest canopy and colonize new trees.