Fur-mites of the genus Atopomelus Trouessart, 1918 (Acari: Atopomelidae) life-cycle phylogeny and host-parasite associations
2005 - Volume: 45 Issue: 2-3 pages: 207-241
KeywordsAtopomelidae mammalian ectoparasites host-parasite association phylogeny systematics mites
The genus Atopomelus Trouessart, comprising fur mites of eulipotyphlan mammals, is revised, and all postembryonic stages are described for the first time. An emended diagnosis of the genus, descriptions of three previously recognized species and two new species, A. hylomys sp.nov. and A. priapus sp.nov., and keys to males and females are provided. Phylogenetic relationships among the species are analyzed using cladistic methods. Species of the atopomelid genera Lemuroptes Lawrence, Micropotamogalichus Fain, and Didelphoecius Fain were selected as close outgroups and Listrophorus leuckarti (Listrophoridae) was chosen as a distant outgroup. A single, most parsimonious cladogram was obtained (A. talpae (A. crocidurae (A. locusta (A. hylomys + A. priapus)))). Atopomelus species primarily parasitize Oriental insectivores, gymnures of the genus Hylomys (Erinaceidae) (3 mite species) and shrews of the genus Crocidura (Soricidae) (A. crocidurae). A single species, A. talpae is known from Talpa romana (Talpidae) in Italy. Plesiomorphic characters of this genus suggest that it is the ancestor of the clade was associated with the basal Eulipotyphla and hedgehogs as the earlier derivative of this host clade. The occurrence of A. talpae on T. romana is probably the result of an ancient host switch from gymnures inhabiting Europe in the Oligocene. The association between atopomelids and Oriental shrews is probably also secondary. Host switching of atopomelids onto Oriental Crocidura, probably happened with pioneering shrew species dispersing into this region from the Palaearctic.
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