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Mites as modern models: acarology in the 21st century

Walter, D.E. and Proctor, H.C.

2010 - Volume: 50 Issue: 1 pages: 131-141


mite spider Acarology World Wide Web ecology evolution internet key


We present a literature survey and analysis of the profile of mites (Acari, exclusive of Ixodida) in recent literature and on the World Wide Web, and compare their prominence to that of spiders (Araneae). Despite having approximately the same number of described species, spiders outshine mites on the Web, although the study of mites (Acarology) is better represented than the study of spiders (Araneology). Broad searches of scientific literature imply that publications on mites exceed those on spiders by 2-3x; however, this dominance was reversed when a smaller number of journals with broad readerships and no taxonomic orientation (e.g., Nature, Science) were surveyed. This latter analysis revealed that the topical content of mite and spider papers in these general-science journals differs significantly. A troubling leveling-off of taxonomic publications on mites also was discovered. We conclude by suggesting some strategies that acarologists and editorial boards might follow in order to raise mites to their proper status as exemplary models for ecological and evolutionary research.

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2010 Walter, D.E. and Proctor, H.C.
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