Biology and behavior of the mite Cheletomorpha lepidopterorum (Shaw) (Prostigmata:Cheyletidae) and its role as a predator of a grain mite Acarus farris (Oud.) (Astigmata:Acaridae) Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/3x816p98g

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  • Cheletomorpha lepidopterorum (Shaw), a predaceous, prostigmatid mite, was studied under laboratory conditions of 20° - 30° C and 80% - 90% R. H. to determine its effectiveness as a possible biological control agent of Acarus farris (Oud. ), a graminivorous mite which infests stored grains and grain products. Although Cheletophyes knowltoni Beer and Dailey had been synonymized with C. lepidopterorum, it was found that the latter could be differentiated from C. knowltoni on the basis of biological, morphological, and behavioral data obtained from four species "populations" (Kansas, Oregon, California, and World-Wide). A temperature range of 20° - 25° C and relative humidities of 80% - 90% created conditions ideally suited to the rearing of C. lepidopterorum. Egg survival under optimal temperature and humidity regimes exceeded 75%. Mated females laid more eggs than unmated females at optimal environmental conditions. Development time from egg to adult ranged from a low of 192 hours for a single male at 30° C, 90% R. H., to 420 hours for a male at 20° C, 90% R. H. The second nymphal stage sometimes was omitted in the male ontogeny. Mated females produced male and female progeny, while unmated females produced a higher percentage of males. Starved C. lepidopterorum females survived longest at 20° C, 80% R. H. -- 31.33 days. Starved males lived up to 12 days at 20° C, 80% R. H. All stages of C. lepidopterorum were voracious predators of A. farris and reverted to cannibalism when prey was in short supply. Females consumed from .471 prey/day at 5° C, 80% R. H. to 3.844 prey/day at 20° C, 80% R. H. , while males consumed slightly fewer. C. lepidopterorum females survived for over four months at 5° C. Males guarded quiescent female deutonymphs until emergence and subsequently mated with them. Indications are that females may secrete a substance which attracts males for up to 14 days after the female's emergence. Females were receptive to mating for six days after emergence. A. farris may feed on the immobile forms of C. lepidopterorum or as a saprophage on dead predators.
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