Recently described predatory mites belonging to the family Phytoseiidae (Acari: Mesostigmata) and their importance in biological control


Abstract: Although chemical control is one of the most dominant tactics used to control
agricultural pests, demands for biological pest control, one of the most important alternatives
to pesticides, is growing day by day. Species of the family Phytoseiidae (Acari: Mesostigmata)
are important biological control agents of phytophagous mites, as well as some small soft
bodied insects such as thrips and whiteflies. Amblyseius swirskii (Athias-Henriot), Phytoseiulus persimilis Athias-Henriot, Neoseiulus californicus (McGregor) and N. cucumeris (Oudemans) are the major species that are currently comprises more than 60 % of natural enemies available in biological control market worldwide. The natural enemies including parasitoids and predators most specifically phytoseiids may be one of the most important components to achieve the overarching aim of the “European Green Deal” for the European Union to become the world’s first “climate-neutral bloc” by 2050. Natural populations of these predators adapted to local environmental conditions, on the other hand, can effectively control plant pests. Moreover, commercially imported exotic predators may interfere with natural predator populations via intraguild predation, causing pest control failures and displacement of native predators. In this regard, we have been collecting predatory mites from multiple habitats such as arid, forest, terrestrial, urban and wetland (both freshwater and salt marsh), in various countries especially from Turkey and Russia, to find and identify local and native species for biological control. As a result, we described about 30 species and redescribed about 80 species which were poorly known taxonomically and ecologically. Some of our new species and new records may be similar to the other well-known phytoseiids that are available in international market, based on their lifestyle, ecology and food habits. In this regard, research on these species to understand their potential as a local biological control agents is warranted.

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