Skip to main content
ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Systematic Entomology Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #322558

Research Project: Plant Feeding Mite (Acari) Systematics

Location: Systematic Entomology Laboratory

Title: A new asymmetrical feather mite of the genus MIchaelia Trouessart, 1884 (Astigmata: Freyanidae) from the neotropical cormorant, Phalacrocorax brasilianus (Pelecaniformes)

Author
item Hernanes, F. - University Of Brazil
item Mironov, S. - University Of St Petersburg
item Bauchan, Gary
item Ochoa, Ronald - Ron

Submitted to: Acarologia
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/10/2016
Publication Date: 3/10/2016
Citation: Hernanes, F.A., Mironov, S.V., Bauchan, G.R., Ochoa, R. 2016. A new asymmetrical feather mite of the genus MIchaelia Trouessart, 1884 (Astigmata: Freyanidae) from the neotropical cormorant, Phalacrocorax brasilianus (Pelecaniformes). Acarologia. 56(1):45-61.

Interpretive Summary: Feather mites occur on the feathers of birds. These mites can be harmful to the birds and others can just go along for the flight but add extra weight and can distort air currents along the wing. Cormorants are specialized birds in that they “fly/swim” under the water to catch their meal. We have discovered a new species of feather mites on the wings of Cormorants. The mites are as usual as the birds they cling to. The mites are asymmetrical in that one front leg is huge compared to its other pair of legs and it appears to be used for attaching themselves to the feather as the bird dives into the water and possibly for sexual attraction in the case of males. These studies are important for the health and welfare of these special birds and are especially important to scientists, wildlife managers, and zookeepers.

Technical Abstract: Species of the feather mite genus Michaelia Trouessart, 1884 are notable for the bilateral asymmetry in males, displayed in the structure of anterior legs (both hetero- and homeomorphs) and the opisthosomal lobes (heteromorphs). A new species of this genus, Michaelia neotropica sp. n., is described from the Neotropical Cormorant Phalacrocorax brasilianus (Pelecaniformes: Phalacrocoracidae) from Brazil. It differs from M. urile (Dubinin, 1953) by having a narrower incision on inner margins of opisthosomal lobe anterior to setae h1, and by the relatively longer legs I with the ambulacrum reaching the midlevel of elongated tarsus II. A key to heteromorphic males of the genus Michaelia is provided.