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Biota Neotropica

On-line version ISSN 1676-0611

Biota Neotrop. vol.9 no.4 Campinas Oct./Dec. 2009

http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1676-06032009000400005 

ARTICLES

 

Phytophagous mites (Tetranychoidea: Tetranychidae, Tenuipalpidae) from natural vegetations in Lara, Venezuela

 

Ácaros fitófagos (Tetranychoidea: Tetranychidae, Tenuipalpidae) de vegetación natural en Lara, Venezuela

 

 

Carlos VásquezI,*; Alcides MondragónI; Martha DávilaI; Orlando AponteII

INúcleo Tarabana, Final, Departamento de Ciencias Biológicas, Decanato de Agronomía, Universidad Centroccidental Lisandro Alvarado, Av. Ribereña, Edificio A, Cabudare - Lara, Apartado postal 400, Venezuela
IIInstituto de Zoología Agrícola, Universidad Central de Venezuela, Av. El Limón, Maracay, estado Aragua, Venezuela

 

 


ABSTRACT

Phytophagous mites from natural vegetation have been scarcely studied in Venezuela. Surveys were carried out from March 2007 to November 2008 to determine diversity of phytophagous mites inhabiting in different plant taxa in Iribarren, Jiménez, Palavecino, Morán and Crespo municipalities from Lara state, Venezuela. In each sampling site, a 500 m- transect was established and the most frequent plant species were sampled. In field, 15 leaves were examined for mite presence by using hand lens. In laboratory, plant material was examined under magnification and mite morpho-species belonging to tetranychid and tenuipalpid were picked up. A total of two tenuipalpid species and eight tetranychid species were identified. Tenuipalpid mites identified were Brevipalpus phoenicis (Geijskes) on Cassia siamea (Caesalpinaceae), Capparis linearis (Capparidaceae), Spathodea campanulata (Bignoniaceae), Randia sp. (Rubiaceae), Melicoccus bijugatus (Sapindaceae) and Tenuipalpus sp. was collected from Spondias mombin (Anacardiaceae). On the other hand, tetranychid included Tetranychus urticae Koch on Terminalia catappa (Combretaceae), Euphorbia pulcherrima (Euphorbiaceae) and Enterolobium cyclocarpum (Mimosaceae). Tetranychus cinnabarinus (Boisduval) on Lycopersicon sp. (Solanaceae), Ipomoea sp., Convolvulus sp. (Convolvulaceae) and Leonotis nepetifolia (Lamiaceae). Tetranychus desertorum Banks on Parthenium hysterophorus (Asteraceae). Eutetranychus banksi (McGregor) on C. siamea, Chlorophora tinctoria (Moraceae), Dalechampia sp. (Euphobiaceae) and Malpighia glabra (Malpighiaceae). Eotetranychus cf. willamettei on Sterculia apetala (Sterculiaceae). Oligonychus biharensis (Hirst) on Clitoria sp. (Papilionaceae) and Ziziphus cyclocardia (Rhamnaceae). Oligonychus sp. on S. campanulata and Neotetranychus gloriosus Estebanes & Baker on Croton sp. (Euphorbiaceae). In this study, B. phoenicis is recorded for the first time on C. siamea, S. campanulata, Randia sp. and M. bijugatus for Venezuela.

Keywords: Tetranychidae, Tenuipalpidae, trees, shrubs, herbs.


RESUMEN

Los ácaros fitófagos de especies vegetales no cultivadas han sido poco estudiados en Venezuela. Desde marzo 2007 hasta noviembre del 2008, se realizaron muestreos para determinar la diversidad de ácaros fitófagos habitantes de diferentes taxa vegetales en los municipios Iribarren, Jiménez, Palavecino, Morán y Crespo en el estado Lara, Venezuela. En cada sitio de muestreo, se trazó una transecta de 500 m de longitud donde fueron muestreadas las plantas más frecuentes. En el campo, 15 hojas fueron examinadas para determinar la presencia de ácaros con el uso de una lupa de mano. En el laboratorio, el material vegetal fue examinado bajo aumento de una lupa estereoscopio para seleccionar las morfo-especies de tetraníquidos y tenuipálpidos. Se identificaron dos especies de Tenuipalpidae y ocho de Tetranychidae. Los ácaros tenuipálpidos identificados fueron Brevipalpus phoenicis (Geijskes) sobre Cassia siamea (Caesalpinaceae), Capparis linearis (Capparidaceae), Spathodea campanulata (Bignoniaceae), Randia sp. (Rubiaceae), Melicoccus bijugatus (Sapindaceae) y Tenuipalpus sp. fue colectado sobre Spondias mombin (Anacardiaceae). Por otra parte, las especies de tetraníquidos incluyeron a Tetranychus urticae Koch sobre Terminalia catappa (Combretaceae), Euphorbia pulcherrima (Euphorbiaceae) y Enterolobium cyclocarpum (Mimosaceae). Tetranychus cinnabarinus (Boisduval) sobre Lycopersicon sp. (Solanaceae), Ipomoea sp., Convolvulus sp. (Convolvulaceae) y Leonotis nepetifolia (Lamiaceae). Tetranychus desertorum Banks sobre Parthenium hysterophorus (Asteraceae). Eutetranychus banksi (McGregor) sobre C. siamea, Chlorophora tinctoria (Moraceae), Dalechampia sp. (Euphorbiaceae) y Malpighia glabra (Malpighiaceae). Eotetranychus cf. willamettei sobre Sterculia apetala (Sterculiaceae), Oligonychus biharensis (Hirst) sobre Clitoria sp. (Papilionaceae) y Ziziphus cyclocardia (Rhamnaceae). Oligonychus sp. sobre S. campanulata y Neotetranychus gloriosus Estebanes & Baker sobre Croton sp. (Euphorbiaceae). En el presente estudio, se registra por primera vez a B. phoenicis sobre C. siamea, S. campanulata, Randia sp. y M. bijugatus en Venezuela.

Palabras clave: Tetranychidae, Tenuipalpidae, árboles, arbustos, hierbas.


 

 

Introduction

It has been suggested that plant diversity is a critical factor determining animal diversity (Hunter and Price 1992), however, this relationship between plant and herbivore diversity could be nonlinear, because herbivore loads are often lower in polycultures due to differences in the ability of herbivores to locate host plant in mixed stands, suitability of smaller patches of hosts plants and/or differences of effects of parasites or predators on phytophagous population levels (Andow 1991). This could be true for natural tropical ecosystems. However, although plant diversity could influence arthropod diversity, parasitoid or predator effects seems to be more strongly correlated with predator diversity (Siemann et al. 1998).

Regarding to mite studies, more attention has been paid in determining host preferences and distribution of phytophagous mites species associated to crops, such as vegetables and fruit trees, which are included in Tetranychidae, Tenuipalpidae and Eriophyidae (Jeppson et al. 1975). Furthermore, most of those species are also able to be associated to plant species growing in natural ecosystems. However, there are few studies dealing to acarofauna on wild plants. Neotropic constitutes one of the most diverse region, including microarthropod species (Walter & Behan-Pelletier 1999), however, mite richness species, including those inhabiting on natural vegetation, has been scarcely studied. Feres et al. (2005) found several species belonging to Eotetranychus (4), Neotetranychus (2), Oligonychus (5) and Tetranychus (3), being Tetranychus ludeni (Zacher, 1913) the most frequent species collected on 15 plant species from the Estação Ecológica do Noroeste Paulista" (São José do Rio Preto, State of São Paulo, Brazil). Similarly, Buosi et al. (2006) reported two Brevipalpus and seven Tenuipalpus species and also several tetranychid mite species belonging to Eotetranychus (1), Oligonychus (3) and Tetranychus (3) in the "Estação Ecológica de Paulo de Faria", northern region of the State of São Paulo, Brazil. Castro & Moraes (2007) evaluated role of the Atlantic forest vegetation type as reservoir of mite richness which is commonly found on agricultural important plants. These authors found the most frequent group of phytophagous mites was Tenuipalpidae, while the most diverse group was represent by Tetranychid species. Conversely, Lofego & Moraes (2006) found that Tydeidae, Phytoseiidae and Tarsonemidae were the most diverse and frequent mite groups on Myrtaceae species in a Cerrado in São Paulo state, meanwhile Tetranychidae and Tenuipalpidae were scarcely recovery in this area.

In Venezuela, there are extensive areas with natural vegetation with an important number of flora and fauna species, which they are still not well known. In this study, we evaluated diversity of some phytophagous mites belonging to the most important mite families, such as Tetranychidae and Tenuipalpidae, inhabiting in trees, shrubs and herbs from several locations in State of Lara.

 

Materials and Methods

Monthly surveys to identify phytophagous mites species from natural plants (trees, shrubs and herbs) were conducted at Barquisimeto (10º 3' 49,2'' N and 69º 18' 56,3'' W) in Iribarren Municipality, Quibor (9º 55' 39" N and 69º 37' 43" W) and Campo Lindo (9º 57' 27" N and 69º 34' 26" W) in Jimenez Municipality, Humocaro Bajo (9º 36' 29,6'' N and 69º 59' 03,6'' W) in Morán Municipality, Cabudare (10º 03' 45,9" N and 69º 05' 24,03" W) in Palavecino Municipality, and Duaca (10º 14' 41,6" N and 69º15' 22,7" W) in Crespo Municipality from state of Lara, Venezuela from March 2007 to November-2008. In each sampling site, a 500 m transect was established and the most frequent plant species were sampled. In field, 15 leaves were examined for mite presence by using hand lens. When mites belonging to Tetranychidae or Tenuipalpidae were detected, leaves and twigs were selected; samples were placed in plastic bags and taken in ice box to the Laboratorio de Zoología Agrícola, at Universidad Centroccidental Lisandro Alvarado, state of Lara, Venezuela. In laboratory, plant material was examined under magnification and mite morpho-species belonging to tetranychid and tenuipalpid were picked up using an entomological pin. Then slides for microscopic observations were prepared using Hoyer Medium. Finally, slides were oven dried, sealed and labeled. Mite species were determined by taxonomical keys or by morphological comparisons with vouchers specimens deposited in the Colección de Acarología, Universidad Central de Venezuela.

 

Results and Discussion

A total of two species belonging to Tenuipalpidae and eight to Tetranychidae were recorded. Tenuipalpid mites included Brevipalpus phoenicis (Geijskes, 1939) and Tenuipalpus sp., meanwhile in Tetranychid were recorded Tetranychus urticae Koch, 1836, Tetranychus cinnabarinus (Boisduval, 1987), Tetranychus desertorum Banks, 1900, Eutetranychus banksi (McGregor, 1914), Eotetranychus cf. willamettei, Oligonychus biharensis (Hirst, 1924), Oligonychus sp., Neotetranychus gloriosus Estebanes & Baker, 1968 (Table 1). Furthermore, higher number of specimens was found in Eotetranychus cf. willamettei, E. gloriosus, Tenuipalpus sp., E. banksi and T. urticae.

TENUIPALPIDAE

B. phoenicis was collected in five host plant species belonging to different botanical families. According to Childers et al. (2003), B. phoenicis has 486 plant species reported as hosts. Our results showed this species has not been previously recorded in Cassia siamea Lam., Spathodea campanulata P. Beauv., Randia sp. or Melicoccus bijugatus Jacq., thus it constitute a new host plants record for Venezuela.

Regarding to Tenuipalpus sp., it is morphologically similar to Tenuipalpus uvae DeLeon, 1962 which was also collected from non determined plant tree, referred as a large tree (with pinnate leaves and small white flowers in racemes) called "uva" by the inhabitants in Mexico (Baker et al. 1975) and from Spondias purpurea L. in Costa Rica (Salas & Ochoa 1986, Mairena & Ochoa 1989). So that, observed differences could be considered intraspecific variations due to host and geographic conditions, however, more extensive taxonomic studies are required to determine real status of specimens herein collected.

TETRANYCHIDAE

In Tetranychidae, T. cinnabarinus and E. banksi were collected from four host plant species, meanwhile T. urticae was collected from three host plant species. Additionally, T. urticae showed to be more widely spread, being found in three out of six municipalities sampled in from State of Lara, meanwhile T. cinnabarinus and E. banksi were collected from two different locations (Table 1). T. urticae is a worldwide pest occurring in about 960 host plant species, including vegetables, fruit trees and ornamentals provoking important economic damage (Ferro & Southwick 1984, Bolland et al. 1998). However, this pest mite species does not occur as generally on shade trees and shrubs (Weidhaas 1979).

Although O. biharensis and T. desertorum were only found in two and one plant species, respectively, these two mite species are considered polyphagous generalist, being reported in 53 and 193 host plant species, respectively (Bolland et al. 1998). O. biharensis occurs mainly in Asian countries, although it has been reported occurring in Mexico and Brazil (Bolland et al. 1998). It constitutes the first report on Ziziphus cyclocardia S. F. Blake from Venezuela. The observed "host preference" in O. biharensis could be related to more resources availability due to Z. cyclocardia is a ≈30 m tree which ensuring a continuous food flux for population. On the other hand, T. desertorum was collected in several others cultivated plant species that are not target in this study.

On the other hand, E. cf. willamettei and N. gloriosus were just found on Sterculia apetala and Croton sp., respectively. Eotetranychus cf. willamettei showed to be similar to Eotetranychus willamettei (McGregor, 1917) but they differ slightly in aedeagus shape, thus more exhaustive revisions is required to determine species status of Venezuelan specimens. According to Boland et al. (1998), E. willamettei has been recorded in USA, primarily on species belonging to Rosaceae, however it has been also recorded on Aceraceae, Fagaceae, Polygonaceae, Ulmaceae and Vitaceae. On the other hand, N. gloriosus is known to occur in Mexico on Crotonciliatoglanduliferus Ortega, Croton sp., Euphorbia sp. (Tuttle et al. 1976) and others host plant species such as Agavetequilana F.A.C. Weber (Agavaceae) (Tuttle et al. 1974), Piscidiapiscipula (L.) Sarg. (Fabaceae), Piper sp. (Piperaceae) (Estebanes-González & Baker 1968), Sida sp. (Malvaceae) and Solanum sp. (Solanaceae) (Tuttle et al. 1976).

Our results constitute the first survey made on plants growing in natural environments in state of Lara, Venezuela. However, more efforts should be addressed to better know mite diversity inhabiting natural vegetation since they are reservoirs of phytophagous mites and, also they potentially can harbor no described predator species that could be useful as biocontrol agents for agricultural pests.

 

Acknowledgements

Consejo de Desarrollo, Humanístico y Teconológico (CDCHT-UCLA, Venezuela) for research funding (Project code: 025-AG-2007). Anonymous reviewers for their useful comments which contributed to improve manuscript.

 

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Received: 03/04/09
Revised: 09/09/09
Accepted: 24/10/09

 

 

* Corresponding author: Carlos Vásquez, e-mail: carlosvasquez@ucla.edu.edu.ve

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