Share this article    



False spider mites (Trombidiformes: Tenuipalpidae) from Saudi Arabia; a new species of the genus Phytoptipalpus Trägårdh, and first records of species in the genera Obuloides Baker & Tuttle and Aegyptobia Sayed

Khan, Eid Muhammad 1 ; Kamran, Muhammad 2 and Alatawi, Fahad Jaber 3

1Acarology laboratory, Department of Plant Protection, College of Food and Agriculture Sciences, King Saud University, 11451, P.O. Box 2460, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
2Acarology laboratory, Department of Plant Protection, College of Food and Agriculture Sciences, King Saud University, 11451, P.O. Box 2460, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
3✉ Acarology laboratory, Department of Plant Protection, College of Food and Agriculture Sciences, King Saud University, 11451, P.O. Box 2460, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

2022 - Volume: 62 Issue: 4 pages: 1111-1118
ZooBank LSID: 1C4B318C-770C-4290-BE7B-3B46AD523A11

Original research


Amaranthaceae Capparaceae Middle East Taxonomy Tetranychoidea


A new false spider mite (Acari: Trombidiformes: Tenuipalpidae) species, Phytoptipalpus jubailensis n. sp., Khan, Kamran & Alatawi, is described and illustrated based on adult female, collected from Capparis decidua (Forssk.) Edgew. (Capparaceae). The genus Obuloides Baker & Tuttle is recorded for the first time from Saudi Arabia, with the record of O. inquilinus Ueckermann, Theron & Tiedt, from Haloxylon salicornicum (Moq.) Bunge ex Boiss (Amaranthaceae). In addition, two new records of species in the genus Aegyptobia Sayed, A. hamus Chaudhri and A. abuzabiensis Meyer & Van Dis, are presented from Kaviria lachnantha (Botsch.) Akhani (Amaranthaceae), and H. salicornicum (Moq.) Bunge ex Boiss. (Amaranthaceae), respectively.


Tenuipalpidae (Acari: Trombidiformes) is one of the most important family of phytophagous mites, comprising 1013 valid species placed in 39 genera (Castro et al., 2022). Several species are economically important pests of various agricultural plants and worldwide distributed (Jeppson et al., 1975; Mesa et al., 2009). Individuals of this family are commonly known as flat mites or false spider mites. False spider mites are poorly explored from Saudi Arabia (SA). Twenty-eight species belonging to 10 genera have been recorded till now from SA (Alatawi 2011; Alatawi and Kamran 2014; Alatawi et al., 2015; Kamran et al., 2016; Khan et al., 2019).

Phytoptipalpus Trägårdh is a small genus of the family Tenuipalpidae, consisting of 23 nominal species distributed across the Afrotropical, Eastern Palearctic, Neotropical and Oriental regions (Mesa et al., 2009; Ueckermann et al., 2019; Bastani and Asadi, 2021; Castro et al., 2022). Recently, Ueckermann et al. (2019) developed a key to species of the genus Phytoptipalpus which includes 22 species. Phytoptipalpus occultuae Ueckermann, Ochoa and Bauchan a unique species having a rudimentary leg four. Previously, only one species of Phytoptipalpus (P. phoenicis Alatawi & Kamran on date palm) have been reported from SA (Alatawi et al., 2015). This genus is morphologically close to Aegyptobia Sayed, from which it differs by the number of anal setae, two vs. three in Aegyptobia (Mesa et al., 2009). Kamran et al., 2016 and Khanjani et al., 2012 transferred three species, Aegyptobia eupharatica Al-Gboory, Aegyptobia populous Papaioannou-Souliotis and Aegyptobia salicicola (Al-Gboory) from the genus Aegyptobia to Phytoptipalpus based on two pairs of anal setae.

Obuloides Baker & Tuttle is one of the smallest genera of flat mites, containing only eight known species (Maake and Ueckermann, 2018, Castro et al., 2022). Most of the described species in this genus have been collected in Africa except for one species each from Phillipines and India in the 1970's (Baker and Tuttle, 1975; Corpuz-Raros, 1978; Ueckermann et al., 2010). Most of the species in Africa have been associated with the galls and buds of the trees (Ueckermann et al., 2010).

Aegyptobia is one of the largest genera in the family Tenuipalpidae with about 105 species (Kamran et al., 2016; Kontschán and Ripka, 2018; Hasanvand et al., 2019). Previously, only eight Aegyptobia species have been reported from SA (Alatawi and Kamran, 2014; Kamran et al., 2016; Khan et al., 2019).

In this study, a new species, Phytoptipalpus jubailensis n. sp., is described and illustrated based on adult female. Additionally, three species are recorded for the first time in SA: Obuloides inquilinus Ueckermann, Theron & Tiedt; Aegyptobia hamus Chaudhri and Aegyptobia abuzabiensis Meyer & Van Dis. Regarding to O. inquilinus, it is the first species of the genus recorded in SA.

Material and methods

Different provinces of SA were surveyed for the collection of Tenuipalpid mites during 2018–2022. Specimens were collected by shaking the plant foliage over a white sheet of paper and preserved in small vials containing 70% ethanol. The specimens were mounted on glass slides in Hoyer's medium under a stereomicroscope (SZX10, Olympus, Tokyo, Japan). After drying, the slide mounted specimens were examined under phase contrast microscope (BX51, Olympus®, Japan) by using diagnostic keys and available literatures. Key to the genera of Tenuipalpidae prepared by Mesa et al., 2009 was used for identification. Different body parts were imaged by using an auto-montage software system (Syncroscopy, Cambridge, UK) attached to a phase contrast microscope (DM2500, Leica®, Germany), then drawn with Adobe Illustrator (Adobe System Inc., San Jose, CA, USA). All measurements are given in micro-meters (μm). The morphological terminology used in this study follows Lindquist (1985). Leg chaetotaxy is adapted from Lindquist, 1985, Xu and Fan, 2010, and Seeman and Beard, 2011. All collected specimens were deposited at Museum of Arthropods (KSMA, Acarology section), Department of Plant Protection, College of Food and Agriculture Sciences, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.


Family Tenuipalpidae Berlese

Genus Phytoptipalpus Trägårdh

Type species: Phytoptipalpus paradoxus Trägårdh, 1904

Diagnosis — Based on the Meyer and Van Dis, 1993 and Ueckermann et al., 2019.

Phytoptipalpus jubailensis n. sp.

ZOOBANK: 65DCE304-256E-462E-A6DC-D8C7E936E049

(Fig. 1–4)


Propodosoma posterio-medially with coarse transverse, irregular broken striations and anterio-medial parts is without striation; laterally longitudinal to oblique; hysterosoma with 13 pairs of setae (f2 present); dorsal body setae simple, barbed and lanceolate; ventral idiosoma with coarse transverse striation; genital plate mostly smooth; palp five segmented; leg setal counts on leg I–IV trochanters, 1–1–2–1; femora, 3–3–2–1; genua, 1–1–0–0; tibiae, 4–4–3–3; tarsi 8(1ω)–8(1ω)–5–5.

Description of the adult Female (n=4)

Figure 1. Phytoptipalpus jubailensis n. sp., adult female: a, b – Dorsum. Scale bars a, b = 100 μm.

Figure 2. Phytoptipalpus jubailensis n. sp., adult female: a, b – Venter. Scale bars a, b = 100 μm.

Dorsum – (Fig. 1a–b). Colour in life red. Idiosoma oval. Measurements (measurements of 3 paratypes in parentheses): Length of body (excluding gnathosoma) 278 (270–285); (including gnathosoma) 346 (338–358); width 164 (158–170).

Anterior margin of prodorsum rounded (Fig. 1a). Propodosoma posterio-medially with transverse broken coarse striations; anterio-medial parts without striations; laterally longitudinal to oblique striations; with two pairs of small eyes, setae v2, sc1, sc2 simple serrate, barded and similar length. Opisthosoma medially with coarse transverse striations up to setae e and longitudinal laterally; hysterosoma with 13 pairs of narrowly lanceolate serrate setae, posterior hysterosoma setae (e3, f2, f3, h2) longer in length; seta f2 present; three pairs of opisthosomal pores present between setae c2 and d2; hysterosoma with inverse V-shaped and irregular striations laterally. Lengths of dorsal body setae: v2 19 (18–20), sc1 22 (20–22), sc2 23 (21–24), c1 16 (15–16), c2 17 (16–18), c3 21 (20–22), d1 18 (17–19), d2 17 (16–17), d3 19 (18–20), e1 17 (16–17), e2 22 (20–23), e3 23 (22–25), f2 23 (22–24), f3 28 (26–29), h1 22 (21–24), h2 27 (26–29); distances between dorsal setae: v2–v2 47 (45–50), v2– sc1 37 (35–39), sc1–sc1 99 (96–103), sc2–sc2 147 (143–151), sc1– sc2 32 (30–34), sc2– c1 75 (72–77), sc2– c2 52 (49–55), sc2– c3 47 (45–50), c1–c1 35 (33–37), c1–c2 36 (34–37), c2–c3 16 (14–17), c2–c2 117 (113–120), c3–c3 153 (149–155), d1–d1 43 (41–45), d2–d2 84 (81–87), d3–d3 104 (102–107), d1–d2 20 (19–21), d2–d3 26 (25–27), e1–e1 40 (38–43), e2–e2 89 (87–92), e3–e3 105 (99–108), e1–e2 25 (24–26), e2–e3 21 (20–23), f2–f2 80 (76–83), f3–f3 94 (92–96), h1–h1 36 (34–37), h2–h2 68 (66–70), c1–d1 53 (51–54), d1–e1 44 (42–45), e1–f2 38 (36–40), c2–d2 56 (54–58), c3–d3 65 (63–68), d2–e2 48 (46–49), d3–e3 55 (53–58), e2–f2 29 (28–30), e3–f3 13 (12–14), f2–f3 12 (11–13), f2–h2 22 (19–23), f2–h1 29 (27–30), h1–h2 17 (16–18).

Venter – (Fig. 2a–b). Venteral idiosoma with coarse transverse striations between setae 1a to ag; lateral opisthosomal cuticle with longitudinal striations; coxal and intercoxal setae very longer in length; genital area smooth; measurements of ventral setae; 1a 48 (46–50), 1b 37 (35–39), 1c 25 (23–27), 2b 43 (40–45), 2c 39 (37–41), 3a 57 (54–60), 3b 51 (49–53), 4a 49 (46–51), 4b 37 (35–38); one pair of aggenital setae ag 32 (30–33), ag–ag 19 (18–20); two pairs of genital setae, g1 21 (19–21), g2 18 (17–19), g1–g1 27 (26–27), g2–g2 39 (40–41); two pairs of pseudo-anal setae, ps1 13 (11–14), ps2 8 (7–9), ps1–ps1 40 (38–41), ps2−ps2 37 (35–38). Aggenital setae smooth and longer than genital setae; posterior ventral setae (ps1, ps2) always shorter than genital setae and finely serrate; distances between ventral setae: 1a–1a 24 (23–25), 3a–3a 38 (36–40), 4a–4a 19 (18–20), 1b–1c 17 (16–17), 2b–2c 21 (20–22), 1a–3a 96 (94–99), 3a–4a 48 (46–50), 4a–ag 74 (73–78), ag–g1 32 (31–33), g1–g2 6 (5–6), ag–g2 35 (33–37), g1–ps1 30 (28–31), g1– ps2 32 (30–33), g2–ps1 31 (29–33), g2–ps2 34 (32–35).

Gnathosoma – (Fig. 3a–b). Rostrum reaching to the end of tibia I; palp five segmented; palp tarsus with one eupathidium, ul΄6 (6–7); palp tibia with two setae; palp genu without seta; palp femur with a dorsal seta d 19 (17–20); ventral infracapitulum with setae m 12 (11–13), m–m 16 (15–17) (Fig. 3b).

Figure 3. Phytoptipalpus jubailensis n. sp., adult female: a – Palp; b – Sub-capitulum. Scale bars a, b = 20 μm.

Legs – (Fig. 4a–d). Length of legs I–IV (without coxae): 76 (73–79), 68 (65–70), 72 (69–74), 74 (72–78). Leg I–IV setal count as follows (solenidia in parenthesis): coxae 2–2–1–1; trochanters, 1–1–2–1; femora 3–3–2–1; genua 1–1–0–0; tibiae 4–4–3–3; tarsi 8 (1ω)–8 (1ω)–5–5; dorsal seta on femur I and II are narrowly lanceolate, similar to the dorsal body setae.

Figure 4. Phytoptipalpus jubailensis n. sp., adult female: a – Leg I; b – Leg II; c – Leg III; d – Leg IV. Scale bar a–d = 50 μm.

Males and immatures — Unknown


Name of the species is proposed on the name of the locality ''Jubail'' from where the type specimens were collected.

Type materials

Holotype female and three paratype females, Capparis decidua (Forssk.) Edgew. (Capparaceae), Jubail, Saudi Arabia, 27°4′16.15656″N, 49°35′13.4934″E, 19 October 2019, coll. M. Kamran and H. M. Saqib.


Phytoptipalpus is small genus and include few species and there is no information on bioecological aspects, e.g. occurrence of diapause, dispersal strategies, host specificity and seasonality. Most of the species are diagnosed based only on female specimens found on different seasons and localities. Phytoptipalpus jubailensis n. sp., is varying from all other species in the genus Phytoptipalpus based on the dorsomedial striae. The striae on posterior half part of propodosoma dorsomedially with coarse transverse whereas anteriorly smooth (without striations). The new species closely resembles P. eupharatica (Al-Gboory, 1987) which has been reported from Iraq, geographically closes to Saudi Arabia. However, propodosoma dorsomedially posterior half in the new species has coarse transverse striations, whereas these striations are longitudinal to ″v» shaped in P. eupharatica. Also, the area between the anterior and posterior medioventral metapodosomal setae is transverse in the new species vs. smooth in the P. eupharatica. These two species are also different in legs chaetotaxy on trochanter III; 2 vs. 1, tibiae I–II; 2 vs. 1 and 4–4 vs. 3–3 respectively, in P. eupharatica (Al-Gboory, 1987).

New records for Saudi Arabia

The collection data including distribution, host, and global positioning system (GPS) coordinates of some newly recorded tenuipalpid mites from Saudi Arabia.

Genus Obuloides Baker and Tuttle

Obuloides inquilinus Ueckermann, Theron & Tiedt

Obuloides inquilinus Ueckermann, Theron & Tiedt, 2010: 164.

Material examined — Five females, three males, two nymphs, Haloxylon salicornicum (Moq.) Bunge ex Boiss. (Amaranthaceae), Faifa, Jazan, 17°15′.643″N, 43°07′.06″E, 08 October 2020, coll. Eid M. Khan, J. H. Mirza and H. M. Saqib.

Distribution — South Africa (Ueckermann et al., 2010).

Known hosts — Gall of Grewia flava DC (Malvaceae) (Ueckermann et al., 2010).

Genus Aegyptobia Sayed

Aegyptobia hamus Chaudhri

Aegyptobia hamus Chaudhri, 1972: 20.

Material examined — Two females, Kaviria lachnantha (Botsch.) Akhani (Amaranthaceae), Khobar, 26°14′26.18016″N, 49°59′44.0574″E, 17 October 2019, coll. M. Kamran and H. M. Saqib; two females, Fagonia boveana (Hadidi) El Karemy and El Naggar (Zygophyllaceae), near Dhahran Beach, 25°46′43.482″N, 49°35′13.4934″E, 17 October 2019, coll. M. Kamran and H. M. Saqib; seven females, Kaviria lachnantha, Khobar, 26°24′25.7508″N, 50°8′24.8477″E, 18 October 2019, coll. M. Kamran and H. M. Saqib; two females, Heliotropium bacciferum Forssk. (Boraginaceae), Jubail, 26°58′16.320″N, 49°40′13.231″E, 19 October 2019, coll. M. Kamran and H. M. Saqib.

Distribution — Pakistan and Iran (Chaudhri, 1972; Farzan and Asadi, 2015).

Known hostsHeliotropium sp. (Boraginaceae), Thuja orientalis (Cupressaceae), Cassia fistula (Leguminosae), Fallopia convolvulus (Polygonaceae) (Chaudhri, 1972; Chaudhri and Akbar, 1985, Farzan and Asadi, 2015, Castro et al., 2022).

Aegyptobia abuzabiensis Meyer & Van Dis

Aegyptobia abuzabiensis Meyer & Van Dis, 1993: 314.

Material examined — Two females, H. salicornicum (Moq.) Bunge ex Boiss. (Amaranthaceae), Khobar, 25°54′13.853″N, 49°39′22.644″E, 17 October 2019, coll. M. Kamran and H. M. Saqib.

Distribution — Abu-Zabi (Abu-Dhabi), United Arab Emirates (Meyer and Van Dis, 1993; Castro et al., 2022).

Known hostsCornulaca monacantha Delile (Amaranthaceae) (Meyer and Van Dis, 1993; Castro et al., 2022).


We are thankful to editor and anonymous reviewers for the revision and helpful suggestions on the manuscript. The authors are grateful to the Deanship of Scientific Research at King Saud University, Riyadh for providing facilities and fund to complete this research work through the research grants [RG–1437–043].


  1. Alatawi F.J., 2011. Phytophagous and predaceous mites associated with vegetable crops from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Saudi J. of Biol. Sci., 18(3): 239–246.
  2. Alatawi, F.J., Kamran M. 2014. Two new flat mite species of Aegyptobia and Pentamerismus (Acari: Tenuipalpidae) from Saudi Arabia. Turk J Zool., 39(2): 244–250.
  3. Alatawi F.J., Kamran M., Negm M.W. 2015. False spider mites (Acari: Tenuipalpidae) associated with date palm orchards in Saudi Arabia: description of two new species and new records. Syst. and App. Acarol., 20(7): 809–830.
  4. Baker E.W., Tuttle D.M. 1975. A new genus of Tenuipalpidae (Acarina) from India. USDA Cooperative Economic Institute Report, 25(2): 453-455.
  5. Bastani Rad, D., Asadi M. 2021. A new species of the genus Phytoptipalpus (Acari: Tenuipalpidae) from Iran. Int. J. Acarol., 47(1): 1–7.
  6. Castro E.B., Mesa N.C., Feres R.J.F., Moraes, Ochoa R., Beard J.J. Demite P.R. 2022. Tenuipalpidae Database. Available from: _url{http://www.tenuipalpidae.ibilce} (accessed 10 March 2022).
  7. Chaudhri W.M. 1972. Five new species of mites of the genus Aegyptobia from Pakistan (Acarina: Tenuipalpidae). Pakistan Journal of Scientific Research, 24 (1/2): 18-24.
  8. Chaudhri W.M. 1985. Studies on the bio systematic and control of mites of field crops, vegetables and fruit plants in Pakistan. University of Agriculture Faisalabad, Pakistan, Technical Bulletin: 344pp.
  9. Corpuz-Raros L.A. 1978. New Philippine Tetranychoidea (Acarina). Kalikasan, Philippines Journal of Biology, 7(3): 211-230.
  10. Farzan S., Asadi M. 2015. Re-description of Aegyptobia hamus Chaudhri (Acari: Trombidiformes: Tenuipalpidae) based on specimens from Iran. Persian J. Acarol., 4(2): 189-196.
  11. Hassanvand I., Jafari S., Khanjani M., Khanjani M. 2019. A new species of the genus Aegyptobia (Acari: Tenuipalpidae) from Lorestan province, Iran. Persian J. Acarol., 8(1): 11-18.
  12. Jeppson L.R., Keifer H.H., Baker E.W. 1975. Mites injurious to economic plants. University of California Press, Berkeley, Los Angeles, London; p. 614.
  13. Khan E.M., Kamran M., Alatawi F.J. 2019. Flat mites (Acari: Tenuipalpidae) from Saudi Arabia: two new species, new records and key to all known species. J. Nat. Hist., 53(3-4): 185-208.
  14. Kamran M., Mushtaq H.M.S., Alatawi F.J. 2016. The genus Aegyptobia Sayed (Acari: Trombidiformes: Tenuipalpidae) from Saudi Arabia: five new species and a key to the world species. Internat. J. Acarol., 43(2): 91–111.
  15. Khanjani M., Khanjani M., Seeman O.D. 2012. The false spider mites of the genera Aegyptobia Sayed and Phytoptipalpus Trägårdh (Acari: Tenuipalpidae) from Iran. Zootaxa, 3295(1): 30–58.
  16. Kontschán J., Ripka G. 2018. A new species of Aegyptobia and re-description of Tenuipalpusszarvasensis Bozai, 1970 (Acari, Tenuipalpidae). ZooKeys, (785): 99–115.
  17. Lindquist E.E. 1985. External anatomy. In: Helle W., Sabelis M.W. (Eds.), Spider mites: Their biology, natural enemies and control. Vol. 1A. Amsterdam, Elsevier Science Publishers B.V., pp. 3-28.
  18. Maake P.A., Ueckermann E.A. 2018. Obuloides crinitus sp. nov., sixth African species of the gall forming mites of the genus Obuloides Baker and Tuttle, 1975 (Acari: Tenuipalpidae), with a key to known species. Syst. and Appl. Acarol., 23(5): 995–1003.
  19. Mesa N.C., Ochoa R., Welbourn W.C., Evans G.A., De Moraes G.J. 2009. A catalogue of the Tenuipalpidae (Acari) of the World with a key to genera. Zootaxa, 2098(1): 1–185.
  20. Meyer M.K.P.S., Van Dis J.C.S. 1993. Notes on some species of the related genera Aegyptobia Sayed, Phytoptipalpus Tragardh and Pentamerismus McGregor, with descriptions of eight new species [Acari: Tenuipalpidae]. Genus. International Journal of Invertebrate Taxonomy, 4(4): 309–357.
  21. Seeman O.D., Beard J.J. 2011. A new species of Aegyptobia (Acari: Tenuipalpidae) from Myrtaceae in Australia. Syst. and Appl. Acarol., 16(1): 73–89.
  22. Ueckermann E.A., Ochoa R., Bauchan G.R., Neser S. 2019. An amazing sub-cambium flat mite from South Africa (Acari: Trombidiformes: Tenuipalpidae). Acarologia, 59(4): 507–530.
  23. Ueckermann E.A., Theron P.D., Tiedt L.R. 2010. Revision of the genus Obuloides Baker and Tuttle (Acari: Tenuipalpidae), with the description of five new species. Int. J. Acarol., 36(2): 151–167.
  24. Xu Y., Fan Q.H. 2010. Tenuipalpus orilloi Rimando, a new record to the Chinese fauna (Acari: Tenuipalpidae). Syst. and Appl. Acarol., 15(2): 135–138.2.8

Please read and follow the instructions to post any comment or correction.

Article editorial history
Date received:
Date accepted:
Date published:

Edited by:
Navia, Denise

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
2022 Khan, Eid Muhammad; Kamran, Muhammad and Alatawi, Fahad Jaber
 Download article

Download the citation
RIS with abstract 
(Zotero, Endnote, Reference Manager, ProCite, RefWorks, Mendeley)
RIS without abstract 
(Zotero, BibTeX)
(PubMed, Txt)
Article metrics
Number of distinct pdf views


Cited by: view citations with

Search via ReFindit