Parasitology, Harold W. Manter Laboratory of


Date of this Version



Published in J. Parasitol., 88(1), 2002, pp. 36-40. Copyright © American Society of Parasitologists 2002


Mesostigmaticm ites of the Laelapinae Berlese, 1892 (Acari:Laelapidae) are nidicolous arthropods that commonly occur in the fur of Neotropical small mammmals. In this 2-yr study, the laelapine acarofauna associated with the small mammal community in an area of Atlantic forest on Ilha Grande, Rio de Janeiro State, was examined, including observations on patterns of host specificity, mite dispersal, ecology, and food habits. A total of 1,347 laelapines was sampled from the pelage of 6 species of small mammals( Marmosops incanus, Nectomyss quamipes, Oryzomys russatus, Rhipidomys n. sp., Oxymycterus dasytrichus, and Trinomys dimidiatus), all of which occurred exclusively in monoxenous associations with their hosts. No evidence of a blood meal was observed in the gut of the mites. With the exception of the 2 species of Tur, mite populations on hosts were entirely or nearly restricted to adult females. These results, together with some morphological characteristics of laelapines, reinforce the hypotheses that Neotropical laelapine mites are not ectoparasitic, and that females disperse by phoresy.

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