Skip to content
The Acari (mites and ticks) are a hyper-diverse group of minute arthropods. Approximately 60,000 species have been described worldwide, but there may be as many as half a million to one million species.

In New Zealand, over 1200 species (in 540 genera belonging to over 180 families) had been described by the year 2000. It is estimated some 90% of the New Zealand mite species are waiting to be discovered and described. Mite research projects in systematics and biodiversity focus primarily on taxonomic revisions and catalogues targeting groups of importance in pest control and biosecurity in New Zealand. These are carried out in conjunction with research on world fauna of the taxonomic groups concerned. The main objectives for the next few years are the preparation of Fauna of New Zealand contributions to the families Tenuipalpidae and Phytoseiidae. In addition to research in mite systematics, recent projects also examine the ecology and evolution of aging, behaviour and ecology of predatory mites and their roles in controlling small arthropod pests, and multitrophic interactions involving bacteria, fungi, plants, mites and other invertebrates.

Research collaborations

Mites of Agroecosystems. This is a collaborative project with Dr Anne Baker (The Natural History Museum, London) to produce a major book to be published by Cambridge University Press.

Acari systematics and ecology. This is an ongoing collaborative project with Prof Qinghai Fan (Fujian Agricultural and Forestry University, Fuzhou, China) with funding from MAF Biosecurity New Zealand and National Natural Science Foundation of China. Two monographs were published: (1) Fan, Q.-H. & Zhang, Z.-Q. 2004. Revision of Rhizoglyphus Claparède (Acari: Acaridae) of Australasia and Oceania. Systematic & Applied Acarology Society, London. 374 pp.; (2) Fan, Q.-H. & Zhang, Z.-Q. 2005. Raphignathoidea (Acari: Prostigmata). Fauna of New Zealand Number 52. Manaaki Whenua Press, Lincoln, 400 pp. Several other research papers were published and a few more are in preparation.

Systematics of Tarsonemidae. This is collaborative project with Dr Jianzhen Lin (Fujian Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Fuzhou, China). A monograph was published (Lin, J.-Z. & Z.-Q. Zhang, 2002. Tarsonemidae of the World: Key to Genera, Geographical Distribution, Systematic Catalogue & Annotated Bibliograhy. Systematic & Applied Acarology Society, London, 440 pp.). In progress is a revision of Tarsonemus of New Zealand.

Systematics of Pyemotes. This is collaborative project with Lichen Yu (Hebei Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Changli, Hebei, China). A couple of manuscripts on Chinese and New Zealand Pyemotes are in preparation.


Martin NA, Zhang ZQ 2011. Extended distribution and host plants of Nameriophyes sapidae Xue & Zhang 2008 (Acari: Eriophyidae) in New Zealand. Zootaxa 2796: 67-68. WOS:000288530600006

Zhang ZQ 2011. Authorship and date of two family-group names in the Trombidiidae (Acariformes: Parasitengona). Systematic & applied acarology 16: 192.

Martin N, Zhang Z-Q 2010. Identity and distribution of Sonchus leaf-curling mite (Acari : Eriophyidae) in New Zealand. Systematic & applied acarology 15: 263-264.

O'Connell DM, Lee WG, Monks A, Dickinson KJM 2010. Does microhabitat structure affect foliar mite assemblages? Ecological entomology 35(3): 317-328. ISI:000277290000007

Yu LC, Zhang ZQ, He LM 2010. Two new species of Pyemotes closely related to P. tritici (Acari: Pyemotidae). Zootaxa 2723: 1-40. ISI:000285503400001

Xue XF, Zhang ZQ 2009. Eriophyoid mites (Acari: Prostigmata) in Southeast Asia: a synopsis of 104 genera, with an illustrated key to genera and checklist of species. Zootaxa. 1-128 p

Zhang ZQ 2009. [Book review] A review of a new catalog and illustrated key to facilitate identification of and research on flat mites (Acariformes : Tenuipalpidae). Systematic & applied acarology 14: 251-253.

Zhang ZQ 2009. Nomenclatural notes on Rhinothrombium Berlese, 1910 (Acari: Tanaupodidae). Systematic & applied acarology 14: 65-67.

Zhang ZQ, Bennett SJ 2009. Filling the gap in distribution of the genus Sonotetranychus (Acari: Tetranychidae) with a description of a new species from New Zealand. Systematic & applied acarology 14: 161-170.

Xue XF, Zhang ZQ 2008. An analysis of and index to new Acari described in Systematic & Applied Acarology (1996–2007). Systematic & applied acarology 13(3): 279-304.

Xue XF, Zhang ZQ 2008. New Zealand Eriophyoidea (Acari: Prostigmata): an update with descriptions of one new genus and six new species. Zootaxa(1962): 1-32. WOS:000261613300001

Fan QH, Zhang ZQ 2007. Tyrophagus (Acari: Acaridae). Fauna of New Zealand. Lincoln, N.Z, Manaaki Whenua Press.

Ji J, Zhang Z-Q, Zhang Y-X, Chen X 2007. Effects of mating rates on oviposition, sex ratio and longevity in a predatory mite Neoseiulus cucumeris (Acari: Phytoseiidae). Experimental and applied acarology 43: 171-180.

Zhang ZQ, Fan QH 2007. Allotanaupodidae, a new family of early derivative Parasitengona (Acari : Prostigmata). Zootaxa(1517): 1-52. WOS:000247631400001

Show more

Key Contact