Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Damage and spatiotemporal dynamics of the Ngaio flat mite, Brevipalpus ferraguti (Trombidiformes: Tenuipalpidae), with observations on the development of the female insemination system.

Abstract

We studied the Ngaio flat mite, Brevipalpus ferraguti Ochoa & Beard, on Myoporum laetum (Scrophulariaceae), a common introduced plant used as hedgerows in gardens and green areas of the Mediterranean, where the mite causes considerable damage. We first describe the damage, and then the patterns of mite seasonal abundance and spatial distribution. Finally, we address the development of the female insemination system at the population level. Damage occurs on both sides of the leaves, starting with a uniform stippling and bronzing and ending in the leaves drying out and extensive defoliation that coincides with summer. Mite population peaked between June and August, maintained moderate levels in autumn and winter and reached its lowest density in early spring. Active motile immatures and eggs were present throughout the year. Females and motile immature forms were more abundant on the abaxial (lower) leaf surface, but eggs were deposited on both surfaces indistinctly, suggesting that females actively move to the adaxial (upper) surface in summer to oviposit. All the developmental stages were aggregated on the leaves throughout the year regardless of their population density. Our study suggests that a binomial or presence-absence sampling, examining only the number of females on the abaxial surface, can accurately estimate the total mite density levels. Only 23.5% of females possessed a fully developed spermatheca, whereas in 76.5% of the cases the seminal receptacle was not present or not developed. Females with a complete spermatheca were less abundant in summer. Average temperatures and host plant species affected the occurrence of this reproductive structure.