Calacarus carinatus (purple tea mite)
- Summary of Invasiveness
- Taxonomic Tree
- Distribution Table
- Habitat List
- Hosts/Species Affected
- Growth Stages
- List of Symptoms/Signs
- Biology and Ecology
- Natural enemies
- Notes on Natural Enemies
- Means of Movement and Dispersal
- Plant Trade
- Impact Summary
- Economic Impact
- Impact: Biodiversity
- Social Impact
- Risk and Impact Factors
- Detection and Inspection
- Prevention and Control
- Principal Source
- Distribution Maps
Don't need the entire report?
Generate a print friendly version containing only the sections you need.Generate report
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Calacarus carinatus (Green 1890) Keifer, 1955
Preferred Common Name
- purple tea mite
Other Scientific Names
- Calacarus adornatus (Keifer), 1952
- Eriophyes carinatus (Green) Nalepa, 1929
- Phyllocoptes carinatus
- Phytoptus carinatus
- Typhlodromus carinatus Green, 1890
International Common Names
- English: mite, purple; purple tea mite; ribbed tea mite; tea, mite, ribbed
- French: acarien purpre et blanc
Local Common Names
- Germany: Milbe, Purpur-; purpurmilbe
- Netherlands: Purperen thee mijt; Purpur mijt
- Turkey: cay pas bocusu
- ERPHCA (Calacarus carinatus)
Summary of InvasivenessTop of page
C. carinatus is a mite native to Asia. It is now also present in Africa, Europe, the USA and Australia. It usually attacks camellias and can reduce tea leaf production. In Kenya, C. carinatus has resulted in loss of capital due to the reduction in tea leaf production.
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Metazoa
- Phylum: Arthropoda
- Subphylum: Chelicerata
- Class: Arachnida
- Subclass: Acari
- Superorder: Acariformes
- Suborder: Prostigmata
- Family: Eriophyidae
- Genus: Calacarus
- Species: Calacarus carinatus
DescriptionTop of page
The genus Calacarus is a distinctive group of mites, as the females usually have a purplish body and three or five longitudinal wax-bearing ridges on the opisthosoma (Lindquist et al., 1996; Anon., 2014). Wax may also occur on the dorsal shield, following the dorsal shield lines (Lindquist et al., 1996). The rostrum of the female is relatively large and curves downwards (Huang, 2014). The coverflap of the female mite is 32.2 to 36 µ wide and 19.8 to 21.3 µ long, with many faint, short lines (Huang, 2014).
C. carinatus is smaller than two-spotted spider mites, and individuals are referred to as ‘rust mites’ due to the bronzing caused on infested leaves (Anon., 2014) (see Symptoms).
The larvae are cream-coloured and pear-shaped (Lindquist et al., 1996). As they develop, they become darker.
DistributionTop of page
The earliest geographical record of C. carinatus in the literature is from Indonesia in 1909 (Bernard, 1909 in Lindquist et al., 1996). C. carinatus is also reported from Sri Lanka (King, 1936), south India (Anstead, 1911 in Lindquist et al., 1996), southeast Asia (Pasquier, 1933), Batum, Georgia (Tulashvili, 1930), Mauritius (Moutia, 1958), New Zealand (Manson, 1959), Florida, USA (Jeppson et al., 1975), Taiwan (Shaio, 1976) and more recently, Louisiana (Oliver and Cancienne, 1980), South Africa (Immelman, 1983), Spain (Vazquez, 1991), Australia (CSIRO, 2004) and Kenya (IPPC Secretariat, 2005).
Distribution TableTop of page
The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Reference||Notes|
|-Guizhou||Present||Wang et al., 2010; CABI/EPPO, 2014|
|Georgia (Republic of)||Present||Tulashvili, 1930; CABI/EPPO, 2014|
|India||Present||Cherian, 1938; CABI/EPPO, 2014|
|-Himachal Pradesh||Present||Shanker et al., 2002; CABI/EPPO, 2014|
|-Kerala||Present||Muraleedharan and Chandrasekharan, 1981; CABI/EPPO, 2014|
|-Tamil Nadu||Present||Muraleedharan and Varatharajan, 1988; CABI/EPPO, 2014|
|-Tripura||Present||Pande and Nandi, 1983, recd. 1985; CABI/EPPO, 2014|
|-West Bengal||Present||CABI/EPPO, 2014|
|Indonesia||Present||Lindquist et al., 1996; CABI/EPPO, 2014|
|Japan||Present||Hsu Fong-kan, 1936, February; CABI/EPPO, 2014|
|Korea, Republic of||Present||CABI/EPPO, 2014; Lee et al., 2014|
|Sri Lanka||Present||King, 1937; CABI/EPPO, 2014|
|Taiwan||Present||Huang, 1974; CABI/EPPO, 2014|
|Kenya||Present||Introduced||1976||Invasive||IPPC-Secretariat, 2005; CABI/EPPO, 2014|
|Mauritius||Present||Moutia, 1958; CABI/EPPO, 2014|
|South Africa||Present||Immelman, 1983; CABI/EPPO, 2014|
|USA||Restricted distribution||CABI/EPPO, 2014|
|-Florida||Present||Jeppson et al., 1975; CABI/EPPO, 2014|
|-Louisiana||Present||Oliver and Cancienne, 1980; CABI/EPPO, 2014|
|Russian Federation||Present||CABI/EPPO, 2014|
|-Southern Russia||Present||CABI/EPPO, 2014|
|Spain||Present||Introduced||1990||Vázquez, 1991; CABI/EPPO, 2014|
|-New South Wales||Present||CSIRO, 2004|
|-South Australia||Present||CABI/EPPO, 2014|
|-Victoria||Present||CSIRO, 2004; CABI/EPPO, 2014|
|New Zealand||Present||Manson, 1959; CABI/EPPO, 2014|
IntroductionsTop of page
|Introduced to||Introduced from||Year||Reason||Introduced by||Established in wild through||References||Notes|
|Natural reproduction||Continuous restocking|
Habitat ListTop of page
|Terrestrial – Managed||Protected agriculture (e.g. glasshouse production)||Secondary/tolerated habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Managed forests, plantations and orchards||Principal habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Urban / peri-urban areas||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
Hosts/Species AffectedTop of page
C. carinatus usually attacks camellias, but has also been found attacking Spathiphyllum plants in Florida greenhouses (Anon., 2014). It is said to have an unusually wide host range compared to other members of the genus, apart from Calacarus citrifolii (Lindquist et al., 1996). In addition to attacking Camellia sinensis, it has also been reported from Camellia japonica and ‘two hosts in two other dicot families’ (Lindquist et al., 1996). Other hosts include: leaves of Viburnum opulus in California, USA; Capsicum annum in Mauritius (Moutia, 1958); and Camellia kissi and Camellia caudate in Assam, India (Das and Sengupta, 1962).
Growth StagesTop of page Vegetative growing stage
SymptomsTop of page
C. carinatus causes a bronzing or purple discolouration of infested leaves, hence the common name ‘rust mite’ (Mamikonyan, 1935; Anon., 2014). This is more apparent on the leaf margins (Shiao, 1976). Infested leaves also have a ‘dusty’ appearance due to the cast skins of the mites and the residue of ‘mite wax’ on the leaf surface (Anon., 2014). Leaves attacked by the mites turn completely brown and dry up, and defoliation occurs in heavy infestations (Shiao, 1976; Vazquez, 1991). The mites usually attack older leaves and show a preference for the upper surface, especially along the midrib and margins (Light, 1927).
List of Symptoms/SignsTop of page
|Growing point / external feeding|
|Leaves / abnormal colours|
|Leaves / abnormal leaf fall|
|Leaves / external feeding|
Biology and EcologyTop of page
The eggs are usually laid along leaf veins (Anon., 2014) and singly (Lindquist et al., 1996). The eggs hatch in approximately 6-8 days, and the total development time from egg to adult is approximately 10-12 days (Anon., 2014), although this is dependent on temperature; 13-14 days have been recorded in January (Anon., 2014), 9 days in March and 7 days in July or August in tea plantations in the USA (Jeppson et al., 1975).
There are two nymphal instars and the females begin ovipositing on the third day after the final moult (Oliver and Cancienne, 1980). According to Oliver and Cancienne (1980) an average of 7.5 eggs are laid in 8 days; King (1937) reported that females laid up to 13 eggs at a rate of 1-2 a day. King (1937) also reported that C. carinatus exhibits arrhenotokous parthenogenesis (where unfertilized eggs develop into males).
Shiao (1976) reported that a generation lasted 20 and 50 days at 28.5 and 16.5 degrees centigrade, respectively.
Populations of mites usually build up during dry periods in tea plantations and significantly decline during rainy periods (Anon., 2014). In local greenhouses, numbers of mites decline when plants are frequently watered with over-head irrigation (Anon., 2014).
The adult and nymphs of C. carinatus suck the sap of host plant leaves (Radhakrishnan and Prabhakaran, 2012). When mite numbers are high, they also attack shoots and bud scales of tea (Mamikonyan, 1935).
The purple tea mite usually occurs with the pink tea mite (Acaphylla theae) in India (Lindquist et al., 1996) and was reported as ‘generally associated’ with A. theae in the USA (in Los Angeles and ‘two other counties’) on Camellia (Armitage, 1946).
Muraleedharan and Chandrasekharan (1981) reported peak numbers of mites in January, April, May and November in tea plantations in south India. In Japan, Shiao (1976) reported that population size increased gradually from June to October, but was adversely affected by rainfall. High temperature and high relative humidity, as well as heavy rainfall, were reported to significantly reduce mite numbers in Munnar, Kerala, India (Muraleedharan et al., 1994). Low temperatures are also reported to have an adverse effect on mite populations (Muraleedharan and Chandrasekharan, 1981). In addition, Danthanarayana and Ranaweera (1972) also suggested that mite numbers could be influenced by certain biochemical processes in tea leaves. C. carinatus were reported to prefer shaded tea, except in August, in Tripura, India (Pande and Nandi, 1983).
When vertical distribution of the purple tea mite was studied on Camellia sinensis in India, it was found that mites showed a preference for bottom leaves (Muraleedharan et al., 1994). Leaves at the top and in the middle of the plants contained significantly fewer numbers of mites. Bushes that were pruned three and four years previously harboured greater densities of C. carinatus than bushes in the first half of the pruning cycle.
Natural enemiesTop of page
|Natural enemy||Type||Life stages||Specificity||References||Biological control in||Biological control on|
|Coccinella septempunctata||Predator||Adults/Eggs/Nymphs||not specific|
Notes on Natural EnemiesTop of page
Harris (1982) reported that C. carinatus is the preferred prey of the cecidomyiid Lestodiplosis oomeni in West Java, Indonesia. However, it was also noted that the efficiency of the predator would probably be compromised by a ceraphronid parasite that frequently attacked it.
Amblyseius rhabdus, Amblyseius deleoni, Amblyseius ovalis, Tydeus sp. and Acarus have also been reported as predators of purple and pink tea mites (Rao et al., 1969; Muraleedharan and Chandrasekharan, 1981; Lindquist et al., 1996), but Lindquist et al. (1996) questioned the report on Tydeus sp. and Acarus, commenting that the feeding habits of the mites of these genera are generally not know to be predaceous.
Sharma and Kashyap (2002) reported that Syrphus sp., Coccinella septempunctata, Oxyopes sp. and the parasitoid Diaeretiella sp. are the most important natural enemies in tea orchards in general (i.e. not specific to C. carinatus) in Himachal Pradesh, India.
Means of Movement and DispersalTop of page
Mites crawl, but do not fly, and so non-assisted dispersal is restricted to movement on a plant, between plants if plants are touching, or across soil from one plant to the next.
Vector Transmission (Biotic)
Mites can be carried on the wind, either on webbing or on plant parts that are scattered by the wind (Light, 1927).
Mites can be carried on leaf parts or on the clothing of people working amongst infested plants, although the latter is thought to be of little importance (Light, 1927).
Plant TradeTop of page
|Plant parts liable to carry the pest in trade/transport||Pest stages||Borne internally||Borne externally||Visibility of pest or symptoms|
|Leaves||adults; eggs; nymphs||Yes||Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye|
Impact SummaryTop of page
Economic ImpactTop of page
The adult and nymphs of C. carinatus suck the sap of host plant leaves (Radhakrishnan and Prabhakaran, 2012). When mite numbers are high, they also attack shoots and bud scales of tea (Mamikonyan, 1935).
In Kenya, C. carinatus has resulted in loss of capital due to the reduction in tea leaf production (IPPC Secretariat, 2005). Due to the damage it causes to tea and ornamental plants of economic importance in other parts of the world, such as Taiwan (e.g. Huang, 1974) and India (e.g. Shanker et al., 2002), it follows that economic losses due to mite infestations will be suffered there also. Radhakrishnan and Prabhakaran (2012) stated that severe infestations result in 8-10% crop loss in tea ecosystems. Homburg (1955) suggested that a resurgence in the economic importance of mites in Indonesia was probably largely due to a result of change in cultural practices used after blister blight.
In addition to a reduction in economic return caused by mite damage, there are also costs associated with inputs. Othieno et al. (1981) published a paper on the economics of fertilizer application to smallholder tea farms in Kenya, and reported that bushes not receiving fertilizer were heavily infested with C. carinatus compared to fertilized bushes, where no mites were found.
Impact: BiodiversityTop of page
Impact on Biodiversity
C. carinatus is a pest of aesthetically-important plant species (e.g. Oliver and Cancienne 1980), and so where these species are used in a biodiversity-rich setting, there is risk that that the biodiversity will be compromised with presence of this pest species.
Social ImpactTop of page
Calacarus carinatus is a pest of Camellia japonica, which is a flowering tree/shrub and valued for its aesthetics. Oliver and Cancienne (1980) stated that this mite and Acaphylla steinwedeni infest Camellia japonica throughout the state of Louisiana, USA. Large populations of the mites cause foliar discolouration and scabbing, which results in loss of aesthetic value and economic losses. The interaction between trees and people is often highly regarded, as outlined by Evans (2007), and so any pest that compromises this relationship will be regarded as having a negative social impact.
Risk and Impact FactorsTop of page Invasiveness
- Invasive in its native range
- Proved invasive outside its native range
- Has a broad native range
- Abundant in its native range
- Tolerant of shade
- Highly mobile locally
- Host damage
- Negatively impacts livelihoods
- Threat to/ loss of native species
- Highly likely to be transported internationally accidentally
- Difficult to identify/detect as a commodity contaminant
- Difficult/costly to control
Detection and InspectionTop of page
C. carinatus causes a bronzing or purple discolouration of infested leaves (Mamikonyan, 1935; Anon., 2014). Infested leaves also have a ‘dusty’ appearance due to the cast skins of the mites and the residue of ‘mite wax’ on the leaf surface (Anon., 2014). The white skins and wax on the upper leaf surface can be seen using a hand lens (Anon., 2014). Leaves attacked by the mites turn completely brown and dry up, and defoliation occurs in heavy infestations (Shiao, 1976; Vazquez, 1991).
Prevention and ControlTop of page
Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.
Early Warning Systems
Due to the fact that mites (especially the eggs) can be cryptic on plant parts and therefore pose a risk of accidental introduction in the plant trade, it is important to have measures in place to counteract accidental introduction. For example, in Kenya, the importation of any plant material is subject to strict specified conditions. Procedures include having suitable available information on the plant material to evaluate the pest risk of potential invasives. Regulations ensure that plant materials are imported and exported with appropriate permits and phytosanitary certificates. The authority is in place to treat of destroy infested plants or plant products (IPPC Secretariat, 2005).
In Kenya, inspections are carried out at international airports, sea ports and borders. Most border control points are located in the south and west, given the considerable trade in plant material with Uganda and Tanzania (IPPC Secretariat, 2005).
C. carinatus was introduced into Kenya in the 1976 and caused a reduction in tea leaf production (IPPC Secretariat, 2005). Public awareness of has been raised by, for example: publishing procedures on plant import requirements in the print media; holding public seminars at entry points; and preparing and distributing pamphlets, brochures and annual reports (IPPC Secretariat, 2005).
Cultural Control and Sanitary Measures
Rau (1965) stressed the importance of providing shade, carrying out late pruning with cleaning out, avoiding disturbing soil in cold weather and ensuring good drainage as actions to control mites in tea plantations. However, this does partly contradict findings by Pande and Nandi (1983) who reported that C. carinatus actually prefers shaded tea, except in August, in Tripura, India.
Care should be taken when moving infested plants within economically important tea plantations, and between countries in the import/export plant trade. By introducing border control checks, such as those in place in Kenya (IPPC Secretariat, 2005), and by considering that mites can be carried on the clothing of personnel working amongst infested plants, measures to mitigate movement of the pest can be set in place.
Sharma and Kashyap (2002) reported that Syrphus sp., Coccinella septempunctata, Oxyopes sp. and the parasitoid Diaeretiella sp. are the most important natural enemies in tea orchards in general in Himachal Pradesh, India, where C. carinatus is one of the most important pests attacking tea bushes. The authors investigated the effect of pesticides on pests and natural enemies and found that deltamethrin, cypermethrin and ethion were highly toxic to Syrphis sp. and C. septempunctata. Conversely, applications of 1500 ppm azadirachtin or a combination of neem, triterpenoids and azadirachtin, or Bacillus thuringiensis were found to be safe to natural enemies.
Sulphur compounds have been used against various eriophyoid mites on tea for many years (e.g. Mamikonyan, 1935; Das, 1965), but if insufficient time is left after treatment and before harvest, this method of control can cause tainting problems (Cranham et al., 1962; Lindquist et al., 1996).
In Tamil Nadu, India, dicofol, sulfur, ethion, phosalone and quinalphos have been used to control various pests of tea, including C. carinatus (Muraleedharan and Varathatajan, 1988).
Due to the fact that few of the several pesticides available for mite control are suitable in organic fields, more recent control methods have evaluated plant extracts against C. carinatus (e.g. Radhakrishnan and Prabhakaran, 2012). Radhakrishnan and Prabhakaran (2012) evaluated aqueous, methanol and chloroform extracts of Lantana camara, Bidens pilosa, Ageratum conyzoides, Equisetum arvense, Tithonia diversifolia and Capsicum annum. B. pilosa, E. arvense, A. conzyzoides and C. annum were acaricidal 96 hours after spraying at higher concentrations. Methanol extracts were found to be more efficient that aqueous and chloroform extracts, and aqueous extracts of C. annum and T. diversifolia showed ovicidal effects at 5% concentration.
ReferencesTop of page
Anon, 2014. A new pest of Spathiphyllum. (online). Florida, USA: University of Florida. http://www.mrec.ifas.ufl.edu/lso/erio-mite/erio-mite.htm
CSIRO, 2004. Calacarus carinatus. Systematic names (online)., Australia: CSIRO. http://www.ces.csiro.au/aicn/system/c_70.htm
Das GM; Sengupta N, 1962. Biology and control of the purple mite, Calacarus carinatus (Green), a pest of tea in north-east India. Journal of the Zoological Society of India, 14:64-72.
Evans HF, 2007. Oak processionary moth Pest Risk Analysis. (online)., France: EPPO. http://www.fera.defra.gov.uk/plants/plantHealth/pestsDiseases/documents/processionary.pdf
Harris KM, 1982. Lestodiplosis oomeni sp.n. (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae), a predator on the carinate tea mite, Calacarus carinatus (Green) (Acarina: Eriophyidae) and on other mites on tea plants in Indonesia. Entomologische Berichten, 42(2):20-23.
Huang KW, 2014. Calacarus carinatus (Green, 1890). BiotaTaiwanica., Taiwan. http://biota.taibif.tw/pages/13160
IPPC-Secretariat, 2005. Identification of risks and management of invasive alien species using the IPPC framework. Proceedings of the workshop on invasive alien species and the International Plant Protection Convention, 22-26 September 2003. xii + 301 pp.
Lee JongHo; Jung SungHoon; Lee SeungHwan, 2014. Three newly recorded species of the genera Acaphylla Keifer and Calacarus Keifer (Prostigmata: Eriophyidae) from Camellia spp. (Theaceae) in Korea. Korean Journal of Applied Entomology, 53(1):59-64. http://ocean.kisti.re.kr/is/mv/showPDF_ocean.jsp?method=download&pYear=2014&koi=KISTI1.1003%2FJNL.JAKO201409150679082&sp=59&CN1=JAKO201409150679082&poid=entomo&kojic=OOGCBV&sVnc=v53n1&sFree=
Moutia LA, 1958. Contribution to the study of some phytophagous Acarina and their predators in Mauritius. Bulletin of Entomological Research, 49:59-75.
Muraleedharan N; Chandrasekharan R, 1981. Observations on the seasonal variations of Acaphylla thep Keifer and Calacarus carinatus (Green) (Acarina: Eriophyidae) in a tea field at the Anamalais (South India). Pestology, 5(6):11-15
Muraleedharan N; Mohan MS; Radhakrishnan B; Udayabhanu KG, 1994. Seasonal abundance and vertical distribution of purple mite, Calacarus carinatus (Green) (Eriophyidae: Acarina) infesting tea. Entomon, 19(1/2):53-56.
Radhakrishnan B; Prabhakaran P, 2012. Evaluation of certain plant extracts against the purple mite, Calacarus carinatus (green) infesting tea. Newsletter - UPASI Tea Research Foundation, 22(1):2. http://www.upasitearesearch.org
Tulashvili N, 1930. Observations on Pests of Tea and Citrus on the Batum Coast during 1927-28. (Beobachtungen über die Schäd-linge des Teestrauches und der Citrusgewächse (Citronen, Apfel-sinen) am Strandgebiet Batum im Laufe von 1927-1928.) Mitt. PflSchAbt. Volhskom. Landw. S. S. R. Georg, 1. Tiflis, 189-230 pp.
Vázquez JPM, 1991. Detection of purple mite (Calacarus carinatus Green) on Camellia japonica L. (Detección del 'acaro púrpura' (Calacarus carinatus Green) en Camellia japonica L.) Boletín de Sanidad Vegetal, Plagas, 17(2):283-286.
Wang GuoHua; Xia ShaoMei; Han BaoYu, 2010. Investigation on pest fauna in tea gardens and succession trend of dominant species in Guizhou Province. Journal of Anhui Agricultural University, 37(3):411-416.
Principal SourceTop of page
Draft datasheet under review
ContributorsTop of page
29/05/14 Original text by:
Claire Beverley, CABI, UK
Distribution MapsTop of page
Unsupported Web Browser:
One or more of the features that are needed to show you the maps functionality are not available in the web browser that you are using.
Please consider upgrading your browser to the latest version or installing a new browser.
More information about modern web browsers can be found at http://browsehappy.com/