Dispersal and resistance to starvation in Raoiella indica (Acari: Tenuipalpidae).
Raoiella indica Hirst (Tenuipalpidae) is an obligate phytophagous mite that has rapidly colonized wide areas of tropical America and causes severe injuries, mainly to plants in the families Arecaceae, Heliconiaceae, Zingiberaceae and Musaceae. This study evaluates biological attributes of the species that could explain its potential as invasive pest, its capacity to survive when deprived of food and its dispersal mechanisms, including passive displacement by wind and possible phoretic association with insects. This mite has a higher resistance to starvation than other phytophagous mites, with a maximum 12 days for adult females. Its main dispersal is by wind, even at low velocities. Phoresy on insects was not observed.