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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Systematic Entomology Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #344953

Research Project: Plant Feeding Mite (Acari) Systematics

Location: Systematic Entomology Laboratory

Title: The external morphology of the mouthparts, and observations on feeding and behavior of Tuckerella japonica on Camellia sinensis in the continental United States

Author
item Childers, C. - University Of Florida
item De Lillo, E. - Bari University
item Bauchan, Gary
item Rogers, M. - University Of Florida
item Ochoa, Ronald - Ron
item Robinson, Ch. - University Of South Carolina

Submitted to: Experimental and Applied Acarology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/18/2017
Publication Date: 1/1/2018
Citation: 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.

Interpretive Summary: Peacock mites are plant feeding mites that are not well known but have been associated with damage to the bark of several plants including citrus, guava and tea. This article addresses the feeding behavior and its importance. This study will be important to plant protection officers, extension workers, agriculture scientists, entomologists and plant growers.

Technical Abstract: Tuckerella japonica Ehara (Acari: Tetranychoidea: Tuckerellidae) is found where longitudinal splitting occurs on exposed green periderm tissue of shoots on certain varieties or seedling plants of Camellia sinensis (L.) O. Kuntze (Theales: Theaceae) in the continental United States. The mite is able to penetrate into exposed periderm tissue with its paired stylets on one- to three or four year old stems of C. sinensis where the outer bark had split. After three or four years, splitting diminishes and eventually forms a uniform covering of bark in some C. sinensis seedlings or varieties. Tuckerellid mites possess an elongated, beak-like and straight extension of the infracapitulum that houses and provides support for the paired stylets while penetrating the periderm. The stylets of the mite are stout, serrated and curved medially when separated or connected together. The two stylets combine and form a single penetrating tube through which saliva is injected into plant tissues. On the ventral side of this beak-like structure is the opening for the inferior oral commissure that leads to the pharynx and into the gut. The pre-oral channel and pharynx are involved in the sucking function to draw pre-digested liquefied food to the gut. Tuckerella japonica females establish defined territories on exposed green periderm tissues of C. sinensis. There were usually one or two feeding holes in an area where the female deposited one or more eggs within a short period of time. Eggs and/or immatures near the female were usually observed.