Tuesday 4 March 2014

A new species of Gall Mite from Tripura State, northeast India.

Gall Mites (Eriophyidae) are small Archnids related to Spider Mites and Scrub Itch Mites. They are exclusively parasitic, targetting higher plants. Gall Mites have only two pairs of legs, and an elongate, wormlike body. They are microscopic, and not well studied, with about 3600 described species, most of which are agricultural pests.

 In a paper published in the journal Zootaxa on 4 February 2014, Pratibha Menon, Sushila Joshi and Vilayanoor Ramamurthy of the Division of Entomology at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute describe a new species of Gall Mite from Tripura State in northeast India.

The new species is placd in the genus Aceria and given the specific name tripuraensis, meaning 'from Tripura'. Aceria tripuraensis is described from ten female and two male specimens. It has a stout, white, wormlike body, 130-180 μm in length, with the females larger than the males. It was found living in galls on the leaves of Largeleaf Rosemallow plants (Hibiscus macrophyllus), the source of Hibiscus Tea.

Scanning electron microscope image of three Aceria tripuraensis Gall Mites. Menon et al. (2014).

Line drawing of an Aceria tripuraensis Gall Mite in lateral view. Menon et al. (2014).