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Ixobrychiphilus, a new genus of the family Syringophilidae (Acariformes: Prostigmata)

Skoracki, Maciej1 ; Zmudzinski, Mateusz2 and Solarczyk, Piotr3

1Department of Animal Morphology, Faculty of Biology, Adam Mickiewicz University, Umultowska 89, 61-614 Poznan, Poland
2Department of Animal Morphology, Faculty of Biology, Adam Mickiewicz University, Umultowska 89, 61-614 Poznan, Poland
3Department of Biology and Medical Parasitology, Medical Faculty I, Poznan University of Medical Sciences, 10 Fredry Street, 61-701 Poznan

2017 - Volume: 57 Issue: 2 pages: 269-273
ZooBank LSID: 3A9C5AE8-7189-4EAB-B1F7-1EC42C426814


birds ectoparasites quill mites Pelecaniformes Syringophilidae


A new monotypic genus of parasitic mites is proposed for Ixobrychiphilus wallacei n. gen., n. sp. (Acariformes: Prostigmata: Syringophilidae) collected from Ixobrychus cinnamomeus (Gmelin) (Pelecaniformes: Ardeidae) from China. This new genus is morphologically similar to Niglarobia Kethley, 1970 but differs by the presence of a full complement of leg setae (vs. setae vsII absent in Niglarobia), propodonotal setae arranged 2-1-1-1-1 (vs. 2-1-1-2), and legs I thicker than II (vs. legs I and II equal in thickness).


Quill mites of the family Syringophilidae Lavoipierre (Acariformes: Prostigmata: Cheyletoidea) are permanent, obligatory, and host-specific (mono- or stenoxenous) parasites associated with birds belonging to 24 orders (Skoracki et al. 2012; Glowska et al. 2015). They are found inside the quills of different types of feathers: primaries, secondaries, tertials, coverts, rectrices, and contour feathers (Kethley 1970; Skoracki 2011).

The family is an assemblage of approximately 330 species of 60 genera described from all zoogeographical regions except Antarctica (Glowska et al. 2015).

A new genus is established herein for a new species Ixobrychiphilus wallacei n. gen., n. sp., collected from the quills of the Cinnamon Bittern Ixobrychus cinnamomeus (Gmelin) (Pelecaniformes: Ardeidae) from China. The host order, Pelecaniformes includes 108 species grouped in five families: Ardeidae, Balaenicipitidae, Pelecanidae, Scopidae, Threskionithidae (Clements et al. 2015), and up to now, only one species of syringophilid mites has been recorded from this host order - Trypetoptila casmerodia Kethley, 1970 found on the Great Egret Ardea alba egretta (Linnaeus) (Ardeidae) in the United States (Kethley 1970).

It clearly shows how far we are from the full knowledge about diversity of quill mites parasitising this group of birds.

Materials and methods

The material used in the present study was collected by MZ and PS from dry bird skins deposited in the Bavarian State Collection of Zoology, Munich, Germany. Mites were collected from quills of contour feathers and before mounting, they were softened and cleared in Nesbitt's solution at 40°C for 1-2 days. For study, mites were mounted on slides in the Hoyer's medium according to the standard technique for these mites (Walter and Krantz 2009). Identifications and drawings of mite specimens were carried out with a ZEISS Axioscope-2 (Carl-Zeiss AG, Germany) light microscope equipped with DIC optics and camera lucida. In the descriptions below, the idiosomal setation follows Grandjean (1939) as adapted for Prostigmata by Kethley (1990). Nomenclature of leg setae follows that proposed by Grandjean (1944). Morphological terminology follows Skoracki (2011). All measurements are in micrometers (μm). Measurement ranges for paratypes are given in brackets following the data for a holotype. Specimen depositories are cited using the following abbreviations: AMU, A. Mickiewicz University, Department of Animal Morphology, Poznan, Poland; ZSM, Bavarian State Collection of Zoology, Munich, Germany.

Family Syringophilidae Lavoipierre, 1953

Subfamily Syringophilinae Lavoipierre, 1953

Ixobrychiphilus n. gen.

ZOOBANK: BEEDD67E-9954-4954-B469-32B6FE2B4ADE

Diagnosis — Female: Small sized syringophilids (total body length 490 – 540). Gnathosoma. Hypostomal apex rounded, without protuberances. Lateral hypostomal teeth absent. Peritremes M-shaped with clearly visible chambers in each branch. Anterior tip of each movable cheliceral digit with 2 teeth. Stylophore rounded posteriorly. Idiosoma. Six pairs of propodonotal setae arranged 2-1-1-1-1. Setae d1 situated closer to d2 than to e2. Agenital series with 3 pairs of setae. Each pseudanal and genital series with 2 pairs of setae. All idiosomal setae smooth and whip-like. Legs. Legs I thicker than II. Antaxial and paraxial members claw pair subequal in size and shape, without basal angle. Apodemes I parallel, not fused to apodemes II. Legs with full complement of setae.

Male: Unknown.

Type species — Ixobrychiphilus wallacei n. sp.

Etymology — The name "Ixobrychiphilus" is taken from the generic name of the host – Ixobrychus, and philus (Gr. phileo – lover of).

Differential diagnosis — This new genus is morphologically similar to Niglarobia Kethley, 1970 associated with charadriiform birds. In females of both species, the lateral hypostomal teeth are absent; the apodemes I are parallel and not fused to the apodemes II; the stylophore is without large tip on the posterior margin. This new genus is distinguished by the following features: in females of Ixobrychiphilus, propodonotal setae are arranged 2-1-1-1-1; legs I are thicker in comparison to legs II; legs I-IV are with full complement of setae, and claws of legs I-IV are without the basal angles. In females of Niglarobia, propodonotal setae are arranged 2-1-1-2; legs I and II are equal in thickness; leg setae vsII are absent, and claws of legs I-IV are with the basal angles.

Ixobrychiphilus wallacei n. sp.

(Figures 1 and 2)

ZOOBANK: 8B7362D8-01C7-4376-B217-2EAE1B473E95

Description — Female: Total body length 500 in holotype (490 – 540 in 6 paratypes). Gnathosoma. Infracapitulum punctate. Movable cheliceral digit 115 (105 – 115) long. Each medial branch of peritremes with 1 chamber, each lateral branch with 4-5 chambers. Stylophore punctate, with striate ornament, 150 (140 – 150) long. Idiosoma. Propodonotal shield weakly sclerotized, anterior and posterior margins indiscernible, bearing bases of setae vi, ve, si, se, and c1, surface of this shield punctate in middle part. Bases of setae se situated anterior to level of setae c1. Hysteronotal shield apunctate, situated between bases of setae d1 and e2, not fused to pygidial shield. Pygidial shield well sclerotized, apunctate, with incision on anterior margin. Setae f2 2.8–3.6 times longer than f1. Length ratio of setae ag1:ag2:ag3 1:1:1–1.5. Genital plate absent. Pseudanal setae ps1 and ps2 subequal in length. Genital setae g1 and g2 subequal in length. Legs. Coxal fields I-IV apunctate, well sclerotized. Fan-like setae p' and p" of legs III and IV with 10 tines. Setae 4c about twice as long as 4b. All solenidia of leg I subequal in length. Lengths of setae: vi 30 (25 – 50), ve 80 (75 – 90), si 135 (120 – 135), se 195 (180 – 210), c1 180 (170 – 220), c2 180 (160 – 190), d1 120 (110 – 130), d2 145 (130 – 145), e2 115 (90 – 120), f1 30 (25 – 30), f2 85 (85 – 90), h1 20 (20 – 30), h2 310 (280 – 310), ps1 20 (15 – 25), ps2 (15 – 25), g1 30 (25 – 35), g2 30 (25 – 35), ag1 (70 – 80), ag2 (80 – 90), ag3 110 (80 – 120), l'RIII 40 (35 – 40), 4b (40 – 45), 4c (90).

Male: Not found.

Figure 1. Ixobrychiphilus wallacei n. sp., female: A – dorsal view; B – ventral view.

Figure 2. Ixobrychiphilus wallacei n. sp., female: A – gnathosoma in ventral view; B – peritremes; C – solenidia of leg I; D – tarsus I in dorsal view; E – tarsus I in ventral view; F – tarsus II in ventral view; G – tarsus III in lateral view.

Type material — Female holotype and 6 female paratypes (Reg. No. AMU-SYR.517) from quills of contour feathers of Ixobrychus cinnamomeus (Gmelin) (Pelecaniformes: Ardeidae), China, Middle Course of Yangtze River, 26 Sept. 1899, coll. G. Haberer.

Type material deposition — All type specimens are deposited in the AMU, except 1 female paratype in the ZSM.

Etymology — The species is named in honor of a British naturalist, biologist, explorer, and geographer, Alfred Russel Wallace.


We would like to thank Gerhard Haszprunar and Markus Unsoeld (ZSM) for making available samples of dry bird skins for the present study. Studies provided in the ZSM were supported by the Polish National Science Centre (NCN 2014/15/B/NZ8/00208), and German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) (A/12/05065).


Clements J.F., Schulenberg T.S., Iliff M.J., Roberson D., Fredericks T.A., Sullivan B.L., Wood C.L. 2015 — The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world [Internet] — Publisher. The Cornell Lab Ornithology, Ithaca, New York; [10 May 2015]. Available from: ( )

Glowska E., Chrzanowski M., Kaszewska K. 2015 — Checklist of quill mites (Acariformes: Syringophilidae) of the World — Zootaxa, 3968: 1-81.

Grandjean F. 1939 — Les segments postlarvaires de l'hysterosoma chez les oribates (Acariens) — Bull. Soc. Zool. France, 64: 273-284.

Grandjean F. 1944 — Observations sur les acariens de la famille des Stigmaeidae — Archiv. Sci. Phys. Nat., 26: 103-131.

Kethley J.B. 1970 — A revision of the family Syringophilidae (Prostigmata: Acarina) — Contrib. Am. Entomol. Inst., 5: 1-76.

Kethley J.B. 1990 — Acarina: Prostigmata (Actinedida) — In: Dindal DL (Ed). Soil Biology Guide. New York: Wiley and Sons. p. 667-754.

Skoracki M. 2011 — Quill mites (Acari: Syringophilidae) of the Palaearctic region — Zootaxa, 2840: 1-414.

Skoracki M., Zabludovskaya S.A., Bochkov A.V. 2012 — A review of Prostigmata (Acariformes: Trombidiformes) permanently associated with birds — Acarina, 20: 67-107.

Walter D.E., Krantz G.W. 2009 — Collecting, Rearing, and Preparing Specimens — In: Krantz G.W., Walter D.E. (Eds). A Manual of Acarology. Third Edition, Lubbock: Texas Tech University Press. p. 83-96.

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Auger, Philippe

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2017 Skoracki, Maciej; Zmudzinski, Mateusz and Solarczyk, Piotr
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