Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua

FNZ 56 - Tyrophagus (Acari: Acaridae) - Popular summary

Fan, Q-H; Zhang, Z-Q 2007. Tyrophagus (Acari: Astigmata: Acaridae). Fauna of New Zealand 56, 291 pages.
( ISSN 0111-5383 (print), ; no. 56. ISBN 978-0-478-09386-5 (print) ). Published 04 Jun 2007

Popular summary

Tyrophagus mites

The genus Tyrophagus comprises a group of primarily fungivorous mites, including the mould mites, commonly found in stored food products and decaying organic matter. They are also associates of various insects, or inhabitants of vertebrate nests. They are the most abundant and economically important mites inhabiting stored food and products. Some Tyrophagus species are also facultatively phytophagous and can cause economic damage to plants, including both ornamental flowers and vegetables grown in greenhouses. Tyrophagus belongs to the supraorder Acariformes, order Astigmata, family Acaridae. Currently, it comprises about 35 species and is worldwide in distribution.

The life cycle commonly consists of the egg, larva, protonymph, tritonymph, and adult stages. The deutonymph is rarely present and has been recorded for one species only. Females of Tyrophagus can produce 100 to 700 eggs. Development from the egg to adult normally takes 1 to 3 weeks, depending on temperature.

In New Zealand, members of Tyrophagus was firstly recorded by Cockayne & Waters (1916) as chaff-mites, and later considered to be Tyrophagus longior by Robertson (1946), who also provided information on its distribution and host. In her revision of Tyrophagus, Robertson (1959) recorded four species from New Zealand. Up to now five species of Tyrophagus have been recognised as occurring in New Zealand.

In this contribution species of the genus Tyrophagus present in New Zealand are comprehensively revised, along with species found in Australia and other Oceanian countries. Ten species, including two new species, are described and illustrated from New Zealand: Tyrophagus communis sp. n., T. curvipenis Fain & Fauvel, T. longior (Gervais), T. macfarlanei sp. n., T. neiswanderi Johnston & Bruce, T. putrescentiae (Schrank), T. robertsonae Lynch, T. savasi Lynch, T. similis Volgin and T. vanheurni Oudemans. Seven species, including three new species, are described and illustrated from Australia and Oceanian countries: T. australasiae (Oudemans), T. javensis (Oudemans), T. pacificus sp. n., T. perniciosus Zakhvatkin, T. tropicus Robertson, T. womersleyi sp. n. and T. xenoductus sp. n. In addition to the descriptions of five new species, the following nomenclatural changes are made: Tyrophagus africanus Meyer & Rodrigues, 1966 syn. n. of Tyrophagus neiswanderi Johnston & Bruce, 1965; T. palmarum Oudemans sensu Robertson, 1959 syn. n. of T. vanheurni Oudemans (revived). The species concepts of T. putrescentiae (Schrank) and T. javensis (Oudemans) are clarified. Identification keys to adult males and females are given, along with taxonomic references, hosts/habitats and distribution data of each species. This will help identification and facilitate requests for rapid quarantine decisions from trading partners.