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Notes on tenuipalpid mites associated with Quercus pubescens in southern Italy

De Giosa, Marcello 1 ; De Lillo, Enrico 2 and Ochoa, Ronald 3

1✉ Department of Soil, Plant and Food Sciences (Di.S.S.P.A.), University of Bari Aldo Moro, via Amendola, 165/a, Bari, 70126, Italy & World Biodiversity Association Onlus co Museo Civico di Storia Naturale, Lungadige Porta Vittoria, 9, 37129 Verona, Italy.
2Department of Soil, Plant and Food Sciences (Di.S.S.P.A.), University of Bari Aldo Moro, via Amendola, 165/a, Bari, 70126, Italy.
3Systematic Entomology Laboratory, United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville, Maryland, 20705, USA.

2022 - Volume: 62 Issue: 1 pages: 22-26

Short note


flat mites new record survey Fagaceae


During a survey of the flat mites (Tenuipalpidae) on forest trees and agricultural crops in five different sites of the Apulian territories (Southern Italy) in 2019, Brevipalpus recki (Livschitz & Mitrofanov) and Cenopalpus longirostris (Livschitz and Mitrofanov) were collected on Quercus pubescens (Willdenow) (Fagaceae). The authors give an account of the new record of C. longirostris, which was not listed in the previous Italian fauna, and of the finding of B. recki in southern Italy, since it was only mentioned from the northern region of the country so far. In addition, the paper lists Q. pubescens as a new host plant for C. longirostris.

Mites of the family Tenuipalpidae Berlese are specialized plant feeders and the genera Aegyptobia (Sayed), Brevipalpus (Donnadieu), Cenopalpus (Pritchard & Baker) and Tenuipalpus (Donnadieu) include 80% of the total number of valid species around the world (Castro et al. 2020). The world-wide economic importance of flat mites has been increasing due to the rapid spread of major invasive species and to the association of some of them with the transmission of plant pathogens, mainly viruses (de Lillo et al. 2021). Despite their economic significance, the geographic distribution and host associations of the Tenuipalpidae are largely incomplete. Several species of the genus Brevipalpus and Cenopalpus have been described on oaks (Quercus spp.: Fagaceae) around the world: Cenopalpus abaii Khosrowshahi & Arbabi, C. lanceolatisetae Attiah, C. meyerae Khosrowshahi, C. quercusi Khanjani et al., Brevipalpus albus De Leon, B. alni De Leon, B. arizonicae Baker & Tuttle, B. encinarius De Leon, B. glomeratus Pritchard & Baker, B. insinuates De Leon, B. linki Baker, B. mitrofanovi Pegazzano, B. moreliensis Baker & Tuttle, B. oaxacensis De Leon, B. ogmus Pritchard & Baker, B. pseudopini (Baker & Tuttle), B. quercicolus De Leon, B. querensis Baker & Tuttle, B. recki Livschitz & Mitrofanov and B. rugosus De Leon (Baker 1949; Pritchard and Baker 1952, 1958; De Leon 1960, 1961; Livshitz and Mitrofanov 1967; Thewke and Enns 1970; Pegazzano 1975; Meyer and Gerson 1980; Baker and Tuttle 1987; Hatzinikolis and Emmanouel 1987; Papaioannou-Souliotis et al. 1994; Khosrowshahi and Arbabi 1997; Sağlam and Çobanoğlu 2010; Khanjani et al. 2012; Ardali et al. 2014). Despite the above-mentioned list of species recorded on oaks, only two species B. mitrofanovi and B. recki have been found in Italy (Bernini et al. 1995). The aim of this study was to improve knowledge about tenuipalpid species found on Quercus species in Italy, updating Pegazzano (1975). Based on the current study, C. longirostris (Figure 1) is a newly recorded species from Italy and B. recki is spread also in the south of Italy.

Figure 1. Light micrograph (DIC) of Cenopalpus longirostris, adult female.

Leaves and twigs of twenty plants belonging to the genus Quercus (Q. coccifera L., Q. ilex Lour., Q. pubescens Will., Q. robur L., Q. sp. and Q. suber L.) (Table 1) were sampled between September and October 2019 in five locations of the Apulia District (Southern Italy): Bari (crop area), Mercadante Forest (Alta Murgia National Park – crop and natural areas), Cassano delle Murge (natural area), Bitetto (natural area) and Mattinata (natural area) (Figure 2). Plant samples were kept in polyethylene bags containing a paper towel, stored in a refrigerator (at about +4oC) and analyzed using Olympus SZH10 stereomicroscope at the Department of Soil, Plant and Food Sciences (DiSSPA), University of Bari Aldo Moro. Mites were slide-mounted in Hoyer's mounting medium (Walter and Krantz 2009) and dried in an oven (40-50 °C) for one week. Mites were identified based on the original descriptions and illustrations by Livschitz and Mitrofanov (1967); the identification of the plant hosts follows Fiori (1969). The specimens were studied using Differential Interference Contrast (DIC) and Phase Contrast microscopy. Voucher specimens were deposited in the Entomological and Zoological Section, Department of Soil, Plant and Food Sciences (DiSSPA), University of Bari Aldo Moro, Italy (UNIBA); two slides of C. longirostris (1 deutonymph and 1♀) are deposited also in the United States National Insect and Mite Collection Smithsonian Institution, located at the Systematic Entomology Laboratory (SEL), USDA, Beltsville, Maryland, USA (USNM).

Figure 2. Map of Apulian District showing the locations inspected for Brevipalpus recki and Cenopalpus longirostris. Negative sites: 1 (Bari), 3 (Cassano delle Murge - Alta Murgia National Park) and 5 (Mattinata). Positive sites: 2 (Mercadante Forest - Alta Murgia National Park) and 4 (Bitetto).

Table 1. Species belonging to the Quercus genus, collected in five Apulian territories.

Brevipalpus recki and C. longirostris have been previously recorded on various host plant families: B. recki on Asteraceae (Inula vulgaris Trevis.), Fagaceae (Q. alba L., Q. cerris L., Q. ithaburensis Decne., Quercus sp.) and Rosaceae (Cerasus avium (L.) Moench, Rubus sp.); C. longirostris was reported on Fagaceae (Quercus sp.) (Papaioannou-Souliotis et al. 1994) and Rosaceae (Pyrus communis L.) (Livschitz and Mitrofanov 1967). However, B. recki and C. longirostris were collected together on Q. pubescens in three out of twenty samples inspected from the Mercadante Forest (Alta Murgia National Park) and Bitetto, located in southern Italy. Previously 27 species of flat mites were listed for Italy (De Giosa et al. 2021) and with the finding of C. longirostris, the total number of tenuipalpid mites in Italy increased to 28 species.


The authors thank Dr. Gregory Evans (APHIS-USDA) and Andrew Ulsamer (SEL-USDA) for the revision and helpful suggestions. To Debra Creel (SEL-USDA) for their help and support with references and materials. To the Department of Soil, Plant and Food Sciences, University of Bari Aldo Moro; Smithsonian, National Museum Natural History; National Agricultural Library (NAL-USDA), and SEL-USDA for support and assistance with specimens, references and equipment. The mention of trade names or commercial products in this publication is solely for the purpose of providing specific information and does not imply recommendation or endorsement by the USDA; USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. Research supported in part by University of Bari Aldo Moro (Global thesis).


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2022 De Giosa, Marcello; De Lillo, Enrico and Ochoa, Ronald
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