Polyphagotarsonemus latus (broad mite)
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Polyphagotarsonemus latus Banks
Preferred Common Name
- broad mite
Other Scientific Names
- Hemitarsonemus latus Banks
- Hemitarsonemus translucens
- Polyphagotarsonemus translucens
- Tarsonemus latus
- Tarsonemus phaseoli
- Tarsonemus translucens (Green)
International Common Names
- English: chilli mite; citrus silver mite; jute white mite; rubber leaf mite; tropical mite; yellow tea mite
- Spanish: acaro amarillo; acaro blanco tropical; acaro tostador de los cítricos; aranuela blanca
- French: acarien jaune; tarsoneme du cottonnier; tarsoneme trapu
Local Common Names
- Brazil: acaro branco do mamdeiro; acaro tropical
- Denmark: skudtopmide; topskudmide
- Germany: breit-milbe; gelbe tee-milbe; weisse milbe
- Italy: acaro giallo
- Netherlands: begoniamijt; theemijt geele
- Norway: skottopmidd
- Sweden: skott-toppkvalster
- HEMTLA (Polyphagotarsonemus latus)
Summary of InvasivenessTop of page
The broad mite P. latus is spread worldwide. In the tropics and subtropics it reproduces the whole year round and has a wide host range. In temperate climates it is a serious pest on vegetables and ornamental plants in glasshouses. Due to its high reproductive potential, it can reach damaging densities within a very short time.
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Metazoa
- Phylum: Arthropoda
- Subphylum: Chelicerata
- Class: Arachnida
- Subclass: Acari
- Superorder: Acariformes
- Suborder: Prostigmata
- Family: Tarsonemidae
- Genus: Polyphagotarsonemus
- Species: Polyphagotarsonemus latus
DescriptionTop of page
Adult females of P. latus are small (ca 200 µm) and have an unornamented dorsal shield. The prodorsal shield is not enlarged to cover the stigmata. Trichobothria on the prodorsum are capitate. Dorsal idiosomal setae are short. There are four pairs of setae on the dorsum of propodosoma in the male. Tibia and tarsus IV of the male are fused and bear a button-like claw.
Lindquist (1986) provided a detailed description and illustration of this species.
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.
Hosts/Species AffectedTop of page This is a broadly polyphagous species and has been found on species belonging to over 60 different plant families (Gerson, 1992).
Growth StagesTop of page Flowering stage, Fruiting stage, Seedling stage, Vegetative growing stage
SymptomsTop of page
P. latus symptoms vary on different plants (Gerson, 1992). Edges of damaged young leaves usually curl. The foliage often becomes rigid and appears bronzed or scorched. Feeding of mites on the under surface of young leaves causes Gerbera to become rigid and rolled under at the edges. As leaves age, they may split, producing a ragged appearance of different shapes. Infested young potato leaves initially have oily black spots on the under surface, which later turn reddish. The plants become rosetted and then die back. Symptoms on red chilli pepper (Capsicum sp.) are similar. On lemons, this species produces multiple buds on citrus seedlings and discoloration on the skin of fruit. Damage on cucumber, aubergines and Solanum laciniatum includes crinkling, cracking, discoloration and malformations similar to those caused by a hormonal weedkiller. When grapevine is attacked, young leaf edges turn downwards, followed by browning and necrosis.
When chilli leaves are attacked, the leaf tissues disintegrate and the epidermal layer of the infested leaves thickens, with both the pallisade and spongy parenchymatous tissues becoming irregular and the cell nuclei enlarged in severely infested leaves (Karmakar, 1997).
List of Symptoms/SignsTop of page
|Fruit / abnormal shape|
|Fruit / discoloration|
|Growing point / distortion|
|Inflorescence / discoloration panicle|
|Inflorescence / twisting and distortion|
|Inflorescence / wilt|
|Leaves / abnormal colours|
|Leaves / abnormal forms|
|Leaves / abnormal forms|
|Leaves / necrotic areas|
|Leaves / necrotic areas|
|Leaves / wilting|
|Stems / stunting or rosetting|
|Whole plant / plant dead; dieback|
Biology and EcologyTop of page
The generation time of P. latus is short. On chilli pepper (Capsicum sp.) the developmental period from egg to adult at 25°C averages 4.1 days for both males and females. Adult female and male longevity is 11.4 and 15.3 days, respectively. Each female lays 25 eggs. The female/male sex ratio is 2.8 in the laboratory, and 2.3 on seedlings in the greenhouse (Ho, 1991).
P. latus eggs are laid on the underside of leaves, tender stems, fruits, flower peduncles and flowers. Attack occurs during a short period of time. Discoloration of tissues is produced by mite feeding; fruits become deformed or fail to develop. Severely infected fruits fall. Leaves of attacked plants are stunted and yield is significantly reduced. Symptoms remain for a long period of time after control.
P. latus disperses by various means. Short-distance movement may be accomplished by walking. Mites may reach far-away uninfested plants by wind. Human transport of infested plants is another way of dispersal for this mite.
There is also evidence that P. latus disperses through insects living on plants. Females of P. latus were observed to have a phoretic relationship with Bemisia tabaci on Phaseolus vulgaris in Colombia and on watermelons in Venezuela. Females of P. latus were found attached to the tarsi and tibiae of B. tabaci (Flechtmann et al., 1990) and B. argentifolii (Fan and Petitt, 1998). The phoretic association between P. latus and insects is quite specific; whiteflies are most attractive to P. latus but other insects such as thrips and aphids are rarely used (Palevsky et al., 2001).
Natural enemiesTop of page
|Natural enemy||Type||Life stages||Specificity||References||Biological control in||Biological control on|
|Amblyseius victoriensis||Predator||Australia; Queensland||Citrus|
Notes on Natural EnemiesTop of page
Waterhouse and Norris (1987) discussed the natural enemy records and pointed out that none are specific to P. latus. They recommended biological control experiments using Typhlodromus stipulatus and Amblyseius ovalis on chilli peppers.
ImpactTop of page
P. latus is a serious pest of tea, chilli pepper and aubergines in China (Li et al., 1985). It was reported to have destroyed 50% of the bean crop in New Guinea and of the lemon crop in parts of South Africa. It is a pest of cotton in tropical Africa and Brazil. It has a worldwide distribution on many crops (Gerson, 1992).
Damage by P. latus was 100% on sweet peppers (Capsicum sp.) grown in a screenhouse in Taiwan, while aubergines, Datura, chilli pepper and Gerbera were severely damaged (Liu et al., 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.
P. latus may be difficult to control on certain plants. On the curly leaves of Psophocarpus tetragonolobus, dicofol, bromopropylate, azocyclotin and abamectin were not effective (Heungen and Degheele, 1986), presumably because the mites were protected in curly leaves; chinomethionat was more effective. On the more easily treated leaves of castor, all five pesticides tested virtually eliminated the mite population in 2 weeks, and abamectin remained effective for up to 3 weeks.
Dicofol and wettable sulphur were effective against all life stages of P. latus on chilli (Karmakar et al., 1996).
In Sao Paulo, Brazil, abamectin was the most efficient acaricide against P. latus in 12 applications at a range of rates and one application at a higher rate; the higher rate application maximized the production of beans (Scarpellini, 1999). Chlorfenapyr is recommended for the control of P. latus on cotton in Sao Paulo (Santos et al., 1999).
Greenhouse tests in China showed that liuyangmycin (an antibiotic preparation from Streptomyces griseolus) gave the most effective and economical control of P. latus on green chilli peppers (Capsicum). Introduction of female adults or nymphs to plants 5 days after treatment with liuyangmycin resulted in 71.1 and 83% mortality, respectively. The effect declined after 7 days, but mite control for the 3 weeks after treatment remained >98%, which was equivalent to a control by dicofol (Xie et al., 1992). Three applications liuyangmycin to Capsicum in the greenhouse in September-April gave satisfactory control of the pest, with no side-effects.
In India, leaf extracts of Lippia nodiflora and Aloe sp. were shown to significantly reduce the population density of P. latus on chilli when sprayed as 5% aqueous extracts (Palaniswamy and Ragini, 2000). In Brazil, Manipueira, a liquid extract from cassava roots, provided 100% control of P. latus on papaya plants when it was diluted in water (1:3) and sprayed three times at weekly intervals (Ponte, 1996).
In laboratory tests with chilli (Capsicum annuum) leaves, Amblyseius ovalis [Euseius ovalis] at predator-prey ratios of 1:25, 1:50 and 1:100 eliminated P. latus after 9, 12 and 17 days, respectively. Moutia (1958) reported similar results from Mauritius.
In the greenhouses in the 'Land' section of the EPCOT Center, Walt Disney World Vacation Resort, Florida, P. latus was controlled by releasing Neoseiulus barkeri. Fan and Petitt (1994) showed that releasing 10 or more predatory mites per plant of Capsicum cv. Hungarian Wax effectively reduced populations of P. latus from more than 100 mites per leaf to zero in a week. Influx experiments, in which there was continuous immigration of P. latus, showed that a single release of five N. barkeri adults per plant significantly reduced populations of P. latus, but failed to prevent all plants from mite injury, and that three releases of five predatory mites per main stem every 7 days provided adequate protection from mite injury for over 7 weeks.
On beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) and limes in greenhouses in Florida, USA, Neoseiulus californicus was more effective than N. barkeri. In the field, N. californicus, together with a complex of indigenous predaceous mites, kept the density of P. latus below economically damaging levels on lime fruits (Pena and Osborne, 1996).
In greenhouses in China, the release of predatory mites of Neoseiulus cucumeris successfully controlled P. latus on sweet pepper (Wang et al., 2000).
Several species of fungi were tested as possible biocontrol agents against P. latus (Pena et al., 1996). Mortality of P. latus caused by Beauveria bassiana occurred fastest at densities fluctuating between 65 and 125 mites per leaf.
Plant resistance is not yet employed as a component in broad mite (P. latus) control, but there is some evidence that the potential exists (Gerson, 1992). In Cuba, a double haploid of sweet pepper (Capsicum sp.) that has higher mean fruit weight and yield per plant was tolerant of P. latus (Depestre and Gomez, 1995). Several chilli cultivars in India are resistant to P. latus (Rao and Ahmed, 2001).
ReferencesTop of page
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Ahuja DB, 2000. Influence of abiotic factors on the population of mite, Polyphagotarsonemus latus (Banks) infesting sesame (Sesamum indicum L.) in the arid region of Rajasthan (India). Journal of Entomological Research, 24(1):87-89; 3 ref
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Karmakar K, Sarkar PK, Somchoudhury AK, Mukherjee AB, 1996. Effectiveness of some modern pesticides against different stages of yellow mite, Polyphagotarsonemus latus (Banks) (Acari: Tarsonemidae) infesting chilli. Annals of Entomology, 14(2):47-54; 16 ref
Lawrence JL, Edwards CA, Schroeder M, Martin RD, McDonald FD, Gold-Smith J, 2000. An integrated approach for managing hot pepper pests in the Caribbean. The BCPC Conference: Pests and diseases, Volume 1. Proceedings of an international conference held at the Brighton Hilton Metropole Hotel, Brighton, UK, 13-16 November 2000, 239-244; 4 ref
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Masoud Arbabi, Payman Namvar, Samed Karmi, Majied Farokhi, 2001. First damage record of Polyphagotarsonemus latus (Banks., 1904) (Acarina: Tarsonemidae) on potato cultivated in Jhiroft of Iran. Applied Entomology and Phytopathology, 69(1):41-42, Pe183-Pe184
Moutia LA, 1958. Contribution to the study of some phytophagous Acarina and their predators in Mauritius. Bulletin of Entomological Research, 49:59-75
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Palevsky E, Soroker V, Weintraub P, Mansour F, Abo-Moch F, Gerson U, 2001. How species-specific is the phoretic relationship between the broad mite, Polyphagotarsonemus latus (Acari: Tarsonemidae), and its insect hosts?. Experimental & Applied Acarology, 25(3):217-224; 13 ref
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Santos JCCdos, Scarpellini JR, Luswarghi HN, 1999. Chlorfenapyr and abamectin for the control of white mite Polyphagotarsonemus latus (Banks, 1904) (Acari - Tarsonemidae) and red spider mite Tetranychus urticae Koch, 1836 on cotton. Anais II Congresso Brasileiro de Algoda^tilde~o: O algoda^tilde~o no se^acute~culo XX, perspectivar para o se^acute~culo XXI, Ribeira^tilde~o Preto, SP, Brasil, 5-10 Setembro 1999., 189-191; 8 ref
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Waterhouse DF, 1993. The Major Arthropod Pests and Weeds of Agriculture in Southeast Asia. ACIAR Monograph No. 21. Canberra, Australia: Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, 141 pp
Distribution MapsTop of page
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