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Broad mite Polyphagotarsonemus latus (Acari), is a polyphagous pest in tropical and subtropical regions. Phoretic associations between broad mite and two genera of whiteflies (Insecta: Homoptera: Aleyroididae), namely Bemisia and Trialeuroides, have been reported from different parts of the world, raising the significance of phoresy in pest distribution. We have studied the specificity of the association between the mite and its phoretic hosts and conducted preliminary experiments to investigate the nature of cues involved in the recognition of the phoretic host by the mite. Broad mite response was tested towards whiteflies of different genera and towards other winged insects that are common on the same host plants, namely thrips and aphids. Bemisia tabaci was used as a standard phoretic host in choice experiments. Insects frozen for 24 hours were used as potential phoretic hosts in all the experiments, while host acceptance was monitored by counting the number of mites attached to each insect. Preference tests were conducted between Bemisia tabaci, Trialeuroides lauri, Dialeuroides citri and Aleyroides singularis as well as between Bemisia tabaci and allate Myzus persicae and Frankliniella occidentalis. Our results show that broad mite readily attach to white flies from different genera, preferring some over the others. However, mites rarely attach to aphids and thrips, if at all. These results suggest that phoretic relationship between the broad mite and its insect hosts appears to be specific to whiteflies. Attachment occurred equally well in dark and light conditions but, it was greatly reduced by washing the highly acceptable host Bemisia tabaci with various organic solvents. The results suggest the involvement of chemical cues in the recognition process of the phoretic host by the broad mite. The chemical nature of these cues will be discussed.

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Phoretic-host selection by broad mite, Polyphagotarsonemus latus (Acari: Tarsonemidae) [abstract]
Phoretic-host selection by broad mite, Polyphagotarsonemus latus (Acari: Tarsonemidae) .

Broad mite Polyphagotarsonemus latus (Acari), is a polyphagous pest in tropical and subtropical regions. Phoretic associations between broad mite and two genera of whiteflies (Insecta: Homoptera: Aleyroididae), namely Bemisia and Trialeuroides, have been reported from different parts of the world, raising the significance of phoresy in pest distribution. We have studied the specificity of the association between the mite and its phoretic hosts and conducted preliminary experiments to investigate the nature of cues involved in the recognition of the phoretic host by the mite. Broad mite response was tested towards whiteflies of different genera and towards other winged insects that are common on the same host plants, namely thrips and aphids. Bemisia tabaci was used as a standard phoretic host in choice experiments. Insects frozen for 24 hours were used as potential phoretic hosts in all the experiments, while host acceptance was monitored by counting the number of mites attached to each insect. Preference tests were conducted between Bemisia tabaci, Trialeuroides lauri, Dialeuroides citri and Aleyroides singularis as well as between Bemisia tabaci and allate Myzus persicae and Frankliniella occidentalis. Our results show that broad mite readily attach to white flies from different genera, preferring some over the others. However, mites rarely attach to aphids and thrips, if at all. These results suggest that phoretic relationship between the broad mite and its insect hosts appears to be specific to whiteflies. Attachment occurred equally well in dark and light conditions but, it was greatly reduced by washing the highly acceptable host Bemisia tabaci with various organic solvents. The results suggest the involvement of chemical cues in the recognition process of the phoretic host by the broad mite. The chemical nature of these cues will be discussed.

Scientific Publication
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