Predatory mites


Mites are distinguished from spiders by their size (<1 mm). The adults have four pairs of legs and the larvae only three.

In mites, some species are carnivorous and therefore can be predators of crop pests . Their prey can be predigested before ingestion by inoculation of saliva or shredded using chelicera then digested by salivary enzymes before ingestion. Among these predatory mites, we mainly find the following families:

  • Phytoseiidae

It is the most studied family, some species of which are used in biological control in the vineyard.

Free and terrestrial mites, they are found in and on the ground or under the bark in the bad season in the temperate countries and on the foliage of annuals or perennials, cultivated or spontaneous all over the world. They are all predatory, present everywhere, from arctic tundras to equatorial forests and from the seashore up to a medium altitude. There are over 2,500 described species worldwide (see ). All planticolous mites, ubiquitous, some are specific.

The Phytoseiidae are between 300 for the majority and 500 µm (1/2 mm) long. Their body is divided into 2 regions: the gnathosoma (part of the body which carries the mouth parts and sensory organs attached to the mouth but not the brain) and the idiosoma (the rest of the body to which the 4 pairs of legs are attached. ). The idiosoma has thickened parts (or shields or plates = chitinous cuticle called thickened exokeleton), a single dorsal shield and three ventral shields. Identification with the species of Phytoseiidae is essential for use in biological control, each species having different biological characteristics. Polytomous keys (of Phytoseiidae species on grapevines in Europe and species with agronomic interests in the world) are available free of charge on the UMR CBGP website.

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  • Other families of predatory mites

These are mainly Anystidae, Bdellidae and Cunaxidae, Cheyletidae, Erythraeidae, Stigmaeidae, Tydeidae and Trombidiidae.

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Last change : 04/26/21
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