Leptus sp., photographed by Tom Murray.

Belongs within: Erythraeoidea.

Leptus is a cosmopolitan genus of erythraeid mites in which adults have the single pair of eyes placed relatively close to the front of the main body. The idiosoma is distinctly bushy and usually darkly coloured (Walter et al. 2009). Larvae have a triangular scutum that is widest anteriorly. Larvae are found on a wide range of hosts, including almost all terrestrial arachnids and insects. The type species Leptus phalangii was, as its name indicates, first described as a larva parasitising a harvestman in Sweden. Adults were initially described as belonging to a genus Achorolophus, until rearing experiments established the association of larvae and adults (Southcott 1961).

Characters (from Southcott 1961): Idiosoma with one eye on each side, placed in the adult and nymph alongside the anterior half of the crista. Crista of adult and nymph with two sensillary areas, the anterior at the apex of the propodosoma, and the posterior at the posterior end of the crista. Larva with a triangular dorsal scutum, the apex posterior, and with two pairs of scutalae placed anterolaterally; two pairs of scutal sensillae present, one pair anteromedian, at about the level of the AL scutalae; posterior pair at or near posterior pole of scutum; larval lateral (neolateral) tarsal claws dissimilar.

<==Leptus Latreille 1796 S91b [incl. Achorolophus Berlese 1891 S91b, Ritteria Kramer 1877 S61; Leptinae]
    `--L. (Leptus) H09
         |--*L. (L.) phalangii (de Geer 1778) [=Acarus phalangii] S91b
         |--L. (L.) auliacus Haitlinger 1998 H09
         |--L. (L.) barmeedius Southcott 1999 H09
         |--L. (L.) batoricus Haitlinger 1998 H09
         |--L. (L.) boggohoranus Haitlinger 1990 H09
         |--L. (L.) esmaili Saboori & Ostovan 2000 H09
         |--L. (L.) heleus Southcott 1993 H09
         |--L. (L.) josifovi Beron 1975 H09
         |--L. (L.) kamalii Karini Irvanlou & Saboori 2001 H09
         |--L. (L.) korematus Southcott 1999 H09
         |--L. (L.) korneli Haitlinger 2009 H09
         |--L. (L.) mirenae Haitlinger 1994 H09
         |--L. (L.) polythrix Fain & Elsen 1987 H09
         |--L. (L.) rosellae Haitlinger 1999 H09
         `--L. (L.) salicus Haitlinger 2009 H09

Leptus incertae sedis:
  L. acuminatus Shiba 1976 S76
  L. agrotis Southcott 1993 H98
  L. alopecurus Southcott 1991 S91b
  L. alvimordax Southcott 1991 S91b
  L. americanus Riley 1873 (n. d.) S61
  L. anomalus Southcott 1946 S91b
  L. ariel WL09
  L. atticolus WY88
  L. bathypogonus Womersley 1934 S91b
  L. belicolus Southcott 1993 H98
  L. beroni Fain 1991 GF11
  L. bicristatus CM07
  L. calidus Shiba 1976 S76
  L. cameronensis Shiba 1976 S76
  L. cerambycius Southcott 1993 H98
  L. charon Southcott 1991 S91b
  L. chelonethus Womersley 1934 S91b
  L. chibai Shiba 1976 S76
  L. clethrionomydis Haitlinger 1987 S91a
  L. coccineus (Scopoli 1763) SB63 (see below for synonymy)
  L. comosus Southcott 1991 S91b
  L. curtipes Schweizer 1951 SB63
  L. debeauforti (Oudemans 1905) (n. d.) [=Erythraeus debeauforti, Achorolophus debeauforti] S91b
  L. draco S91b
  L. dubius (Paoli 1937) [=Achorolophus dubius] S61
  L. faini Southcott 1993 H98
  L. fernandezi WWO01
  L. fortei Southcott 1991 S91b
  L. francesi Southcott 1991 S91b
  L. gagrellae CM07
  L. gauphalus Haitlinger 1990 H98
  L. georgeae Southcott 1993 H98
  L. gifuensis WY88
  L. gyas CM07
  L. halli Southcott 1993 H98
  L. hidakai WY88
  L. hirtipes (Berlese 1910) [=Abrolophus hirtipes] V25
  L. hozumii Shiba 1976 S76
  L. ignotis (Oudemans 1903) WY88, S61 [=Erythraeus ignotus S61, Achorolophus ignotus S61]
  L. incertus (Koch 1854) [=Rhyncholophus incertus] S61
  L. indianensis CM07
  L. jenseni Southcott 1993 H98
  L. jocquei CM07
  L. kalaallus CM07
  L. killingtoni Turk 1945 S61
  L. lomani [=Erythraeus lomani] S61
  L. maculatus (Banks 1894) (see below for synonymy) S61
  L. mariae Haitlinger 1987 MF11
  ‘Abrolophus’ marmoratus S61
  L. molochinus (Koch 1837) [=Rhyncholophus molochinus] SB63
  L. monteithi Southcott 1993 H98
  L. murteri Schweizer 1951 SB63
  L. muscarum (Linnaeus 1758) [=Acarus muscarum] H98
  L. nearcticus CM07
  L. nemorum (Koch 1835) SB63 (see below for synonymy)
  ‘Ritteria’ norvegica T04
  L. ornatus Womersley 1934 H98
  L. orthrius Southcott 1993 H98
  L. oudemansi CM07
  L. ovatus S76
  L. phuketicus CM07
  L. puylaerti CM07
  L. pyrenaeus André 1953 F91
  ‘Rhyncholophus’ quinquemaculatus [=Trombidium quinquemaculatum, R. (Abrolophus) quinquemaculatus] S61
  L. repens S76
  L. rubricatus (Koch 1837) [=Rhyncholophus rubricatus] SB63
  L. rupestris W91
  L. schedingi (Oudemans 1911) S91b
  L. siculus [=Rhyncholophus siculus, R. (Abrolophus) siculus] S61
  L. spinalatus Southcott 1993 H98
  L. stieglmayri (Oudemans 1905) S91b [=Erythraeus stieglmayri S61]
  L. swani Southcott 1991 S91b
  L. tarranus Southcott 1993 H98
  L. terebrans W34
  L. tetrigius Southcott 1988 S91b
  L. titinius Southcott 1993 H98
  L. torresianus Southcott 1988 H98
  L. trimaculatus (Hermann 1804) SB63 (see below for synonymy)
  L. trucidatus (Hull 1923) [=Achorolophus trucidatus] H98
  L. truncatus Southcott 1993 H98
  L. utheri Southcott 1993 H98
  L. vertex (Kramer 1881) SB63 (see below for synonymy)
  L. villosus S76
  L. waldockae Fain 1991 F91
  L. warregense (Hirst 1928) [=Belaustium (l. c. for Balaustium) warregense] H98
  L. yoshimii Shiba 1976 S76

Leptus coccineus (Scopoli 1763) SB63 [=Pediculus coccineus SB63, L. coccineous (l. c.) S61, Pediculeus (l. c.) coccineus S61]

Leptus maculatus (Banks 1894) [=Rhyncholophus maculatus, Rhyncolophus (l. c.) maculatus, Erythraeus (Atomus) maculatus] S61

Leptus nemorum (Koch 1835) SB63 [=Rhyncholophus nemorum SB63, Rh. (Abrolophus) nemorum S61, Rh. (Achorolophus) nemorum S61, *Ritteria nemorum S61]

Leptus trimaculatus (Hermann 1804) SB63 [=Trombidium trimaculatum SB63, Rhyncholophus trimaculatus S61, R. (Abrolophus) trimaculatus S61, R. (Achorolophus) trimaculatus S61]

Leptus vertex (Kramer 1881) SB63 [=Rhyncholophus nemorum vertex SB63, Erythraeus vertex T04, Ritteria vertex T04; incl. Rh. tonsus Koch 1879 (n. d.) T04]

*Type species of generic name indicated


[CM07] Cokendolpher, J. C., & P. G. Mitov. 2007. Natural enemies. In: Pinto-da-Rocha, R., G. Machado & G. Giribet (eds) Harvestmen: The Biology of Opiliones pp. 339–373. Harvard University Press: Cambridge (Massachusetts).

[F91] Fain, A. 1991. Notes on mites parasitic or phoretic on Australian centipedes, spiders and scorpion. Records of the Western Australian Museum 15: 69–82.

[GF11] Gabryś, G., M. Felska, A. Kłosińska, W. Staręga & J. Mąkol. 2011. Harvestmen (Opiliones) as hosts of Parasitengona (Acari: Actinotrichida, Prostigmata) larvae. Journal of Arachnology 39 (2): 349–351.

[H09] Haitlinger, R. 2009. Three new species of mites (Acari: Prostigmata: Erythraeidae) from the Republic of Cape Verde. Biologia 64 (6): 1150–1156.

[H98] Halliday, R. B. 1998. Mites of Australia: A checklist and bibliography. CSIRO Publishing: Collingwood.

[MF11] Mąkol, J., & M. Felska. 2011. New records of spiders (Araneae) as hosts of terrestrial Parasitengona mites (Acari: Actinotrichida: Prostigmata). Journal of Arachnology 39 (2): 352–354.

[SB63] Schweizer, J., & C. Bader. 1963. Die Landmilben der Schweiz (Mittelland, Jura und Alpen): Trombidiformes Reuter, mit 217 Arten und Unterarten und 193 Originalzeichnungen. Denkschriften der Schweizerischen Naturforschenden Gesellschaft [Mémoires de la Société Helvétique des Sciences Naturelles] 84 (2): i–vi, 209–378.

[S76] Shiba, M. 1976. Taxonomic investigation on free-living Prostigmata from the Malay Peninsula. Nature and Life in Southeast Asia 7: 83–229.

[S61] Southcott, R. V. 1961. Studies on the systematics and biology of the Erythraeoidea (Acarina), with a critical revision of the genera and subfamilies. Australian Journal of Zoology 9: 367–610.

[S91a] Southcott, R. V. 1991a. A further revision of Charletonia (Acarina: Erythraeidae) based on larvae, protonymphs and deutonymphs. Invertebrate Taxonomy 5: 61–131.

[S91b] Southcott, R. V. 1991b. Descriptions of larval Leptus (Acarina: Erythraeidae) ectoparasitic on Australian Diptera, and two earlier described Australian larvae. Invertebrate Taxonomy 5: 717–763.

[T04] Trägårdh, I. 1904. Fauna Arctica: Eine Zusammenstellung der arktischen Tierformen, mit besonderer Berücksichtigung des Spitzbergen-Gebietes auf Grund der Ergebnisse der Deutschen Expedition in das Nördliche Eismeer im Jahre 1898 vol. 4 pt 1. Monographie der arktischen Acariden. Gustav Fischer: Jena.

[V25] Vitzthum, H. 1925. Fauna sumatrensis. (Beitrag no. 5). Acarinae. Supplementa Entomologica 11: 1–79.

[WL09] Walter, D. E., E. E. Lindquist, I. M. Smith, D. R. Cook & G. W. Krantz. 2009. Order Trombidiformes. In: Krantz, G. W., & D. E. Walter (eds) A Manual of Acarology 3rd ed. pp. 233–420. Texas Tech University Press.

[WY88] Welbourn, W. C., & O. P. Young. 1988. Mites parasitic on spiders, with a description of a new species of Eutrombidium (Acari, Eutrombidiidae). Journal of Arachnology 16: 373–385.

[W91] Witte, H. 1991. Indirect sperm transfer in prostigmatic mites from a phylogenetic viewpoint. In: Schuster, R., & P. W. Murphy (eds) The Acari: Reproduction, development and life-history strategies pp. 137–176. Chapman & Hall: London.

[WWO01] Wohltmann, A., H. Witte & R. Olomski. 2001. Organismal patterns causing high potential for adaptive radiation in Parasitengonae (Acari: Prostigmata). In: Halliday, R. B., D. E. Walter, H. C. Proctor, R. A. Norton & M. J. Colloff (eds) Acarology: Proceedings of the 10th International Congress pp. 83–99. CSIRO Publishing: Melbourne.

[W34] Womersley, H. 1934. A revision of the trombid and erythraeid mites of Australia with descriptions of new genera and species. Records of the South Australian Museum 5 (2): 179–254.

Last updated: 2 July 2022.

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