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Revision of the lifestyles of phytoseiid mites (Acari: Phytoseiidae) and implications for biological control strategies



A new classification of lifestyles of phytoseiid mites is proposed based on the findings and suggestions from many studies conducted in the fifteen years since the publication of the lifestyle system by McMurtry & Croft (1997). In this newly proposed classification, Type I (Specialized mite predators) is divided into three subtypes to highlight mite prey specificity: subtype I-a—Specialized predators of Tetranychus species (Tetranychidae); subtype I-b—Specialized predators of web-nest producing mites (Tetranychidae); subtype I-c—Specialized predators of tydeoids (Tydeoidea). Type II (Selective predators of tetranychid mites) remains essentially the same. Type III (Generalist predators) is a huge and diverse group of general feeders; predators in this category are now grouped into five subtypes based on the microhabitat occupied and morphology: subtype III-a—Generalist predators living on pubescent leaves; subtype III-b—Generalist predators living on glabrous leaves;  III-c—Generalist predators living in confined spaces on dicotyledonous plants; III-d—Generalist predators living in confined spaces on monocotyledonous plants; III-e—Generalist predators from soil/litter habitats. Type IV (Pollen feeding generalist predators) also remains essentially the same. Two possible additional lifestyles include phytoseiids living on aquatic plants and phytoseiids able to pierce leaf cells. Behavioral and biological information is updated and implications for biological control strategies are discussed.


Ecology, predator, feeding habit, biological control


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