Pygmephoroidea

Venter (left) and dorsum of female Pediculaster americanus, from Walter et al. (2009).


Belongs within: Prostigmata.
Contains: Siteroptes, Bakerdania, Imparipes, Scutacarus.

The Pygmephoroidea are a group of primarily free-living mites that mostly feed on fungi. Many species have dimorphic females, with distinct phoretic and non-phoretic forms. Members of the Siteroptidae have all setae on the first femur slender and are associated with plants or fungi. The Pygmephoridae have seta d on the first femur thickened and modified in shape, and are free-living or associated with fungi, insects or animal nests. In members of the families Scutacaridae and Microdispidae, the prodorsum of females is usually covered to a greater or lesser extent by tergite C; these families may be separated as the Scutacaroidea. In Scutacaridae, tergite C of females forms a roof completely covering the prodorsum and gnathosoma; tergite C is less expansive in the Microdispidae (Walter et al. 2009).

See also: The Pygmephoroidea: lives of phoresy and fungi.

Characters (from Walter et al. 2009, as Pygmephoroidea + Scutacaroidea): Female gnathosoma capsulate, circular, oval or elongate, visible or hidden from above, with one or usually two pairs of dorsal setae; palpi closely appressed, usually reduced, rarely elongated and blade-lke; movable cheliceral digits stylet-like, partially retractile, rarely vestigial; pharynx divided into two or three muscular sections. Male gnathosoma reduced, tubiform, nonfunctional trophically. Prodorsal shield of females with pair of anterolateral stigmata (extended into troughlike peritremes in some taxa) and associated tracheae, and with two or usually three pairs of setiform setae and with or without a pair of anterolateral bothridia with capitate sensilla, the latter represented by a pair of normal scapular setae in larvae and males. Opisthosoma of females with first dorsal plate C entire, sometimes expanded anteriorly to overlap or cover prodorsum. Adults with coxisternal plates I-II united medially, forming prominent prosternal apodeme; female coxisternal plates III-IV united medially, usually forming poststernal apodeme. Female genital opening small, covered by consolidated aggenital plate, genital and aggenital setae usually absent (two pairs of aggenital setae present in Meristoplaxa). Males with plates C and D consolidated, and with aedeagus tubiform, enclosed in caudal genital capsule formed by consolidated plates H, PS, Ag. Females with legs I similar to or thicker than legs II-IV and with single claw sometimes enlarged for grasping, or thinner than other legs and without ambulacrum and claws; legs II-IV dissimilar in form, each with paired claws and stalked empodium or these absent on legs IV; trochanter IV quadrangular, longer than wide, in contrast to subtriangular trochanters I-III. Adult coxisternal plates I-II together with 4-6 pairs of setae; trochanters I-IV each with a setae; femur I with 3-5 setae; genu I with 2-4 setae; genu II with 2-3 setae. Male leg IV stout, its tarsus variably formed, with or without a single claw, with or without a broad, short empodium, sometimes with 1-2 apical setae elongated and 1-2 other apical setae short, spinelike. With two active postembryonic instars (larva and adult); single nymphal instar an inactive calyptostatic apoderm.

<==Pygmephoroidea [Scutacaroidea]
    |--Neopygmephorus Cross 1965 H98 [Neopygmephoridae ZF11]
    |    |--N. arvorum P94
    |    |--N. panonicus P94
    |    |--N. sellnicki P94
    |    `--N. togatus P94
    |--Siteroptidae WL09
    |    |--Asensilla WL09
    |    |--Diroptes WL09
    |    |--Sevastianovella WL09
    |    |--Pseudobakerdania WL09
    |    |--Dudichiana WL09
    |    |--Metasiteroptes WL09
    |    |--Meristoplaxa [Meristoplaxinae] WL09
    |    |--Zambedania WL09
    |    `--Siteroptes SB63
    |--Microdispidae [Microdispini] CT01
    |    |--Perperipes ornithocephala WL09
    |    |--Phyllodispus WL09
    |    |--Cochlodispus WL09
    |    |--Tubulodispus WL09
    |    |--Vietodispus WL09
    |    |--Scutodispus WL09
    |    |--Punicodoxa WL09
    |    |--Glyphidomastax WL09
    |    |--Myrmecodispus dorylini WL09
    |    |--Unguidispus WL09
    |    |--Caesarodispus WL09
    |    |--Reductodispus WL09
    |    |--Peponacara WL09
    |    |--Microdispus (Premicrodispus) WL09
    |    |    |--M. (P.) chandleri WL09
    |    |    `--M. (P.) lambi (Krczal 1964) WL09, H98 [=Pygmephorus lambi H98, Brennandania lambi H98]
    |    `--Brennandania Sasa 1961 H98
    |         |--B. angusta M83
    |         |--B. parasilvestris M83
    |         |--B. scolopendrae WL09
    |         `--B. silvestris M83
    |--Pygmephoridae [Pygmephorinae] CC01
    |    |--Luciaphorus perniciosus [incl. L. auriculariae, L. hauseri] WL09
    |    |--Parapygmephorus costaricanus WL09, WP99
    |    |--Elattoma WL09
    |    |--Pediculitopsis tubiphorus WL09
    |    |--Petalomium fimbrisetum WL09, L86
    |    |--Xenaster longiabdominalis WL09
    |    |--Geotrupophorus WL09
    |    |--Spatulaphorus WL09
    |    |--Acarothorectes WL09
    |    |--Sasadania WL09
    |    |--Acinogaster WL09
    |    |--Sicilipes WL09
    |    |--Propygmephorus treati WL09
    |    |--Mahunkania WL09
    |    |--Pseudopygmephorus WL09
    |    |--Allopygmephorus WL09
    |    |--Siteroptoides trombidiphilus WL09
    |    |--Cerattoma WL09
    |    |--Rackia WL09
    |    |--Bakerdania WL09
    |    |--Microdispodides Vitzthum 1914 L86
    |    |--Termitacarus Trägårdh 1906 WL09, FH93
    |    |    `--T. ishiharai WL09
    |    |--Pygmephorus Kramer 1877 SB63
    |    |    |--*P. spinosus Kramer 1877 SB63
    |    |    |--P. abdominalis Berlese 1904 SB63
    |    |    |--P. allmanni Krczal 1964 H98
    |    |    `--P. cultratus Berlese 1904 SB63
    |    |         |--P. c. cultratus SB63
    |    |         `--P. c. minor Berlese 1904 SB63
    |    `--Pediculaster Vitzthum 1931 WL09, H98
    |         |--P. americanus (Banks 1904) WL09, H98 [=Pigmephorus (l. c.) americanus H98, Pygmephorus americanus H98]
    |         |--P. australis C07
    |         |--P. flechtmanni A-B91
    |         |--P. gautengensis CC01
    |         |--P. gracilis C07
    |         |--P. mesembrinae (Canestrini 1881) [=Pygmephorus mesembrinae, Siteroptes mesembrinae] H98
    |         |--P. morelliae Rack 1975 CC01, H98 [=Siteroptes morelliae H98]
    |         `--P. norrbomialis C07
    `--Scutacaridae ZF11
         |--Archidispus WL09
         |--Lophodispus irregularis WL09
         |--Rettenmeyerella WL09
         |--Thaumatopelvis WL09
         |--Nasutiscutacarus WL09
         |--Parascutacarus WL09
         |--Rhynchodispus WL09
         |--Lamnacarus ornatus E91
         |--Imparipes H98
         |--Scutacarus WL09
         |--Disparipes Michael 1884 L86
         |--Heterodispus Paoli 1911 H98
         |    |--H. longisetosus (Womersley 1955) [=Variatipes longisetosus] H98
         |    `--H. horridus Mahunka 1967 H98
         |--Pygmodispus Paoli 1911 H98
         |    `--P. (Allodispus) E91
         |         |--P. (A.) latisternus E91
         |         `--P. (A.) mancus Mahunka 1967 E91, H98
         |--Variatipes Paoli 1911 SB63
         |    |--*V. nudus (Berlese 1886) [=Disparipes nudus] SB63
         |    |--V. eucomus (Berlese 1908) [=Diversipes eucomus] SB63
         |    |--V. major Paoli 1911 SB63
         |    |--V. montanus Paoli 1911 SB63
         |    `--V. tridentinus Paoli 1911 SB63
         `--Diversipes Berlese 1903 SB63
              |--*D. exhamulatus (Michael 1886) [=Disparipes exhamulatus] SB63
              |    |--D. e. exhamulatus SB63
              |    `--D. e. minor Schweizer 1951 SB63
              |--D. aequalis Mahunka 1967 H98
              |--D. horridolatus Mahunka 1975 H98
              |--D. pilosellus Mahunka 1967 H98
              `--D. setosus Mahunka 1967 H98

*Type species of generic name indicated

REFERENCES

[A-B91] Athias-Binche, F. 1991. Ecology and evolution of phoresy in mites. In: Dusbábek, F., & V. Bukva (eds) Modern Acarology: Proceedings of the VIII International Congress of Acarology, held in České Budĕjovice, Czechoslovakia, 6–11 August 1990 vol. 1 pp. 27–41. SPB Academic Publishing: The Hague.

[C07] Camerik, A. M. 2007. Ecological studies on phoretic females of dung-inhabiting Pediculaster (Acari: Heterostigmata, Pygmephoridae) species in South Africa: emigration patterns from cow and horse dung. In: Morales-Malacara, J. B., V. M. Behan-Pelletier, E. Ueckermann, T. M. Pérez, E. G. Estrada-Venegas & M. Badii (eds) Acarology XI: Proceedings of the International Congress pp. 649–655. Instituto de Biología and Faculdad de Ciencias, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Sociedad Latinoamericana de Acarología: México.

[CT01] Clift, A., & M. A. Terras. 2001. A quantitative study of phoresy in Microdispus lambi (Acari: Microdispidae) in eastern Australia. 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. 394–398. CSIRO Publishing: Melbourne.

[CC01] Coetzee, S. H., & A. M. Camerik. 2001. The use of autofluorescence of the pharyngeal pump complex in Pygmephoridae (Acari: Heterostigmata) as a new taxonomic aid. 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. 213–216. CSIRO Publishing: Melbourne.

[E91] Ebermann, E. 1991. Thanatosis or feigning death in mites of the family Scutacaridae. In: Schuster, R., & P. W. Murphy (eds) The Acari: Reproduction, development and life-history strategies pp. 399–401. Chapman & Hall: London.

[FH93] Farrier, M. H., & M. K. Hennessey. 1993. Soil-inhabiting and free-living Mesostigmata (Acari-Parasitiformes) from North America: an annotated checklist with bibliography and index. North Carolina Agricultural Research Service, North Carolina State University, Technical Bulletin 302: i–xvi, 1–408.

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

[L86] Lindquist, E. E. 1986. The world genera of Tarsonemidae (Acari: Heterostigmata): a morphological, phylogenetic, and systematic revision, with a reclassification of family-group taxa in the Heterostigmata. Memoirs of the Entomological Society of Canada 118 (S136): 1–517.

[M83] Martin, N. A. 1983. Miscellaneous observations on a pasture fauna: an annotated species list. DSIR Entomology Division Report 3: 1–98.

[P94] Pugh, P. J. A. 1994. Non-indigenous Acari of Antarctica and the sub-Antarctic islands. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 110: 207–217.

[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.

[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.

[WP99] Walter, D. E. & H. C. Proctor. 1999. Mites: Ecology, Evolution and Behaviour. CABI Publishing: Wallingford (UK).

[ZF11] Zhang, Z.-Q., Q.-H. Fan, V. Pesic, H. Smit, A. V. Bochkov, A. A. Khaustov, A. Baker, A. Wohltmann, T. Wen, J. W. Amrine, P. Beron, J. Lin, G. Gabryś & R. Husband. 2011. Order Trombiformes Reuter, 1909. In: Zhang, Z.-Q. (ed.) Animal biodiversity: an outline of higher-level classification and survey of taxonomic richness. Zootaxa 3148: 129–138.

Last updated: 22 March 2018.

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