Two species of the paspalivorus species group: Neoseiulus hexaporus sp. nov. and Neoseiulus mumai (Acari: Mesostigmata: Phytoseiidae) from Florida citrus groves


Abstract: Predatory mites of the family Phytoseiidae (Acari: Mesostigmata) are effective
natural enemies of small arthropods, including pest mites and insects, which provide biological control of several crop pests worldwide. The family is a diverse group of predators found in cultivated crops and other habitats containing natural vegetation. Although some phytoseiid species are commercialized and widely used in biological control programs, the determination of natural populations and identification of the species is a vital first step in understanding their interactions with the crop, environment, and pests. The citrus crop is a diverse agroecosystem colonized by a variety of pests including mites and warrants an understanding of the complex of predators. We collected predatory mites from multiple citrus groves in Florida, to find and identify species for biological control in citrus crops. As a result, Neoseiulus hexaporus is described and illustrated as a new species based on its distinct morphology compared with previously described species in paspalivorus species group. We also provide a complementary redescription of Neoseiulus mumai (Denmark). The paspalivorus species group includes several species of generalist predators belonging to the “Type IIId” feeding habit which are usually associated with monocotyledonous plants, and the mites are morphologically adapted to survive in the confined spaces of these plants with their long and narrow idiosoma, and short legs. The two species considered in this study were collected from unidentified low-growing herbaceous plants present in citrus groves or from the canopy of a citrus tree. Neoseiulus hexaporus is described for the first time and there is no information available on its ecology, behavior, feeding habits, and biological parameters. Therefore, research in these areas and an understanding of its potential as a biological control agent as well as of N. mumai which is redescribed herein but poorly known biologically and ecologically is warranted.

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