Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Hitchhiking or hang gliding? Dispersal strategies of two cereal-feeding eriophyoid mite species.

Abstract

Dispersal shapes the dynamics of populations, their genetic structure and species distribution; therefore, knowledge of an organisms' dispersal abilities is crucial, especially in economically important and invasive species. In this study, we investigated dispersal strategies of two phytophagous eriophyoid mite species: Aceria tosichella (wheat curl mite, WCM) and Abacarus hystrix (cereal rust mite, CRM). Both species are obligatory plant parasites that infest cereals and are of economic significance. We investigated their dispersal success using different dispersal agents: wind and vectors. We hypothesised that in both mite species the main mode of dispersal is moving via wind, whereas phoretic dispersal is rather accidental, as the majority of eriophyoid mite species do not possess clear morphological or behavioural adaptations for phoresy. Results confirmed our predictions that both species dispersed mainly with wind currents. Additionally, WCM was found to have a higher dispersal success than CRM. Thus, this study contributes to our understanding of the high invasive potential of WCM.