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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Systematic Entomology Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #404758

Research Project: Systematics of Acari and Hemiptera: Plant Pests, Predators, and Disease Vectors

Location: Systematic Entomology Laboratory

Title: Effect of the temperature on the development of the Lychee Erinose Mite Aceria litchii Keifer (Acari; Eriophyidae) and the galls it creates

item ATAIDE, LIVIA - University Of Florida
item VECHIA, JAQUELINE F DEL - University Of Florida
item Ochoa, Ronald - Ron
item KENDRA, PAUL - University Of Florida
item CARRILLO, DANIEL - University Of Florida
item REVYNTHI, ALEXANDRA - University Of Florida

Submitted to: Experimental and Applied Acarology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/29/2023
Publication Date: 12/12/2023
Citation: Ataide, L., Vechia, J.D., Ochoa, R., Kendra, P.E., Carrillo, D., Revynthi, A.M. 2023. Effect of the temperature on the development of the Lychee Erinose Mite Aceria litchii Keifer (Acari; Eriophyidae) and the galls it creates. Experimental and Applied Acarology. 92:13-25.

Interpretive Summary: In our novel research, we primarily focused on evaluating the impact of different colors and tones of erinea on the behavior of eriophyoid mites, also known as gall, rust, or cuneiform mites. These highly specialized pests, with an estimated one million species worldwide, cause significant damage to fruit, vegetables, forest, and ornamental plants. We concentrated on erinea, an abnormal felty growth of hairs from the leaf epidermis of plants induced by these mites, as it serves as a protective environment for the mite's eggs and feeding of their active stages. We discovered that the varying colors and tones of erinea were significant drivers of the mites' diverse behaviors. Moreover, we found a correlation between the density of mites and the density of erinea on the host plant. Additionally, our work revealed that differences in temperature also affected the mites. This insight may provide valuable information for controlling mite populations, as understanding eriophyoid mite feeding is crucial for addressing their emergence as significant agricultural pests in regions like south Florida, where they affect important fruit tree commodities. Our work holds significant importance for scientists, ecologists, plant quarantine officers, and management control programs, as it offers a better understanding of the factors influencing eriophyoid mite behaviors and their impact on host plants.

Technical Abstract: The lychee erinose mite, Aceria litchii, is a tiny eriophyid mite known to induce the formation of open galls (erinea) on lychee plants, Litchi chinensis. Four colors (stages) of erineum are noticed in L. chinensis infested with A. litchii; 1) light, 2) white, 3) amber and 4) dark. It has been hypothesized that the mites induce the formation of erinea to hide and protect themselves from biotic and abiotic factors. Here, we investigated how long each erineum stage lasts and shapes A. litchii population size at three different temperatures (15, 25 and 35°C). First, we artificially infested lychee seedlings with A. litchii and monitored the erineum developmental time, erineum density, and mite population size on each of the four erineum stages. Second, we investigated the effect of temperature (15°C, 25°C, and 35°C) on A. litchii population size inside the erinea and the developmental time of the erinea. Overall, each erineum stage lasted approximately 50 days and the population size of A. litchii increased gradually from stage 01 to stage 02 and stage 03, but a strong decline was observed on stage 04. Erineum density was lower in stage 01 than on the other stages. Mite population was low at 35°C, but not different at 15°C and 25°C, suggesting that erinea confer protection at low temperatures, but not at high temperatures. Moreover, erinea developed slower at 15°C than at 25°C and 35°C. Possible effects of the temperature on A. litchii population in lychee plants are discussed in detail.