Article

Feeding activity of a phthiracarid mite (Arachnida: Acari)

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Abstract

The oribatid mite, Phthiracarus sp., feeds by tearing-out material from the spongy mesophyll of decaying spruce needles with a pair of retractile chelicerae. A pair of dentate rutella localize this tearing activity and limit particles to a manageable size. Mastication is achieved by movements of the chelicerae against each other and the rutella, the process being aided by a pair of palps.

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... Oricultural farming practice: a novel approach to agricultural productivity efficient and successful group of soil arthropods in temperate forest ecosystem (Johnston 1982;Norton, 1994), tropical ecosystem (Lasebikan 1977(Lasebikan , 1981Haq 1996Haq , 2007aRamani and Haq 2001) and Palaeozoic coal swamp forests (Labandeira et al. 1997). These mites are excellent triggers of bioprocessing of plant materials and release nutrients into the soil ecosystem (Hayes 1963;Berthet 1964;Dinsdale 1974;Luxton 1979;Behan and Hill 1983;Haq 1984Haq , 1994Haq , 1996Clement and Haq 1984;Wicking and Grandy 2011). Species involved in bioprocessing need to have diverse food habits (Luxton 1979;Alphonsa and Haq 2006), masticatory, microbial (Haq 1987;Haq and Konikkara 1988) and enzymatic (Dinsdale 1974;Haq 2007a) activities, to be tolerant to extremes of physical, chemical and biological factors around, and to have high consumption rate, and absorption and assimilation efficiency. ...
... These mites are excellent triggers of bioprocessing of plant materials and release nutrients into the soil ecosystem (Hayes 1963;Berthet 1964;Dinsdale 1974;Luxton 1979;Behan and Hill 1983;Haq 1984Haq , 1994Haq , 1996Clement and Haq 1984;Wicking and Grandy 2011). Species involved in bioprocessing need to have diverse food habits (Luxton 1979;Alphonsa and Haq 2006), masticatory, microbial (Haq 1987;Haq and Konikkara 1988) and enzymatic (Dinsdale 1974;Haq 2007a) activities, to be tolerant to extremes of physical, chemical and biological factors around, and to have high consumption rate, and absorption and assimilation efficiency. Advanced masticatory mechanisms (Kaneko 1998;Haq 2007a, b;Alphonsa and Haq 2007) used by oribatid mites to draw the food particles like wood within the vestibule, and consequent masticatory action of the chelicerae undoubtedly make them a successful group. ...
... Microbial colonies in the guts of oribatid mites efficiently synthesize and release into the gut the necessary enzymes when required for the particular food type ingested (Luxton 1972;Dinsdale 1974;Haq and Konikkara 1988). These colonies comprise gram-positive and gramnegative bacteria; they were found in all five mite species examined. ...
Article
Agricultural production through known farming practices relies on artificial fertilizers. Increasing frequency of pest outbreaks and pesticide hazards together with great dependence on artificial fertil-izers became a tremendous problem for people and the environment. In this context, it is timely to adopt safe organic farming practices by using oribatid mites, an approach referred to as ‘oricul-tural farming practice’. Oribatid mites play several vital roles in soil ecosystems, of which bio-degradation and subsequent soil enrichment deserve special mention. The present study revealed that several species of oribatid mites are instrumental in biodegradation because they consume large amounts of plant materials and digest them with enzymes (such as cellulose and cellobiase) produced by microbial colonies in mite guts. Large quantities of organically rich faecal pellets laid by the mites increase soil fertility, plant growth and productivity. Okra plants (Abelmoschus esculentus (L.) Moench, 1794) cultivated by using oriculture farming practice were significantly taller, had flowers earlier, and their pods were larger in comparison with the control plants. This clearly warrants wide usage of oricultural farming practice to increase crop productivity.
... By retracting it with the grasped piece of food, the chela will pass the toothed and rigid RU adjacent to its antiaxial side. In a scissoring action, the RU can trim off those parts of the food that extend sideward, as has been suggested by Grandjean (1957a), Dinsdale (1974) and Evans (1992). The resultant particle of food is presumably released by the chela and is small enough to fit in the preoral cavity. ...
Article
Full-text available
Oribatida are one of the main groups of Acari comprising mostly important decomposers in soils. Most species are particle feeders, an exceptional mode of nutrition in Arachnida. Hence, their feeding organs, the gnathosoma, are of special functional interest. We studied nearly all components using scanning and transmission electron microscopies as well as reconstructions based on synchrotron X-ray microtomography from the model oribatid Archegozetes longisetosus. Besides cuticular structures, we describe the full set of muscles and confirm the presence of a trochanter remnant at the base of the chelicera. Setae on the prodorsum and the anterior and posterior infracapitular setae are mechanoreceptors innervated by two dendrites ending with tubular bodies. Dendrites of adoral setae, anterior setae of the chelicerae, and the supracoxal setae show neither obvious tubular bodies nor wall or terminal pores. Thus their function remains obscure. For the first time, a muscular proprioreceptor has been found in Arachnida. It likely monitors the actions of muscles moving the movable digit of the chelicera. Glandular structures within and associated with the gnathosoma are described. Dermal glands represented by secretory porose areas are found within the infracapitulum. More complex associated glands comprise the podocephalic glands and the infracapitular glands, the ducts of which were traced completely for the first time. The components described are mostly fundamental for the gnathosoma of Actinotrichida (Acariformes), one of the two lineages of Acari, to which Oribatida belong. The gnathosoma is generally considered the most relevant putative synapomorphy of Acari. Since the monophyly of Acari has become more and more questionable during the last decades, a thorough reinvestigation of this body part is necessary for a comprehensive understanding of acarine and even arachnid phylogeny and evolution. This article provides a starting point of such a re-evaluation of the gnathosoma.
... The diversity of shapes that have been found in these structures appears to be associated with different feeding methods (Akimov, 1979;Alberti and Coons, 1999). In the majority of cases they are associated with particulate feeding, where they appear to be used to break up food particles that are being pulled into the preoral channel by the chelicerae (Grandjean, 1957;Dinsdale, 1974;Th eron, 1979;Evans, 1992). ...
Article
Low temperature scanning electron microscopy (LT-SEM) has revealed anatomical details suggesting that Osperalycus and Gordialycus (Acariformes: Nematalycidae) have an unusual feeding apparatus that is hypothesized to be specialized for feeding on the fluid contents of small microorganisms (diameter ˂5 μm). Both mite genera have a feeding strategy that appears to involve picking up small microorganisms and placing them onto the subcapitulum for puncturing. However, they have slightly different variants of the same basic rupturing mechanism. Whereas Gordialycus has evolved expansive and convergent rutella to hold the microorganisms in place while pushing chelicerae into them, Osperalycus has evolved a pouch into which a microorganism is inserted. The rutella reinforce this pouch while the chelicerae break up the microorganism. Both types of mouthpart apparatus seem to be adapted to minimize waste, an appropriate specialization given the organically impoverished habitats in which these mites live. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
... The diversity of shapes that have been found in these structures appears to be associated with different feeding methods (Akimov, 1979; Alberti and Coons, 1999). In the majority of cases they are associated with particulate feeding, where they appear to be used to break up food particles that are being pulled into the preoral channel by the chelicerae (Grandjean, 1957; Dinsdale, 1974; Th eron, 1979; Evans, 1992). ...
Conference Paper
Low-temperature scanning electron microscopy revealed that a newly discovered genus of mite (Sarcoptiformes: Nematalycidae) has a novel and very unusual feeding apparatus. Its unique morphology appears to be specialized for extracting fluids from very small microorganisms (<4.5 m) in an efficient way. This is an appropriate adaptation for the biotically impoverished habitat of mineral soil in which it lives. This adaptation is remarkable given that it has arisen within an exclusively asexual family of mites.
... The diversity of shapes that have been found in these structures appears to be associated with different feeding methods (Akimov, 1979;Alberti and Coons, 1999). In the majority of cases they are associated with particulate feeding, where they appear to be used to break up food particles that are being pulled into the preoral channel by the chelicerae (Grandjean, 1957;Dinsdale, 1974;Th eron, 1979;Evans, 1992). ...
... Feeding habits of box mites were based on the consumption of pine plant material. Larvae ground finely plant cells, thanks to the combined movement of rutellum and chelicerae (Dinsdale 1974b). The anatomical structure of pine tissues was no longer recognizable in larval guts, due to fine grinding of cell walls, but adults and nymphs, which ground more coarsely plant material, showed some recalcitrant remnants of pine tissues, such as tracheid areolae, attesting for the pine origin of gut contents. ...
Technical Report
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Chapter
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Article
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Breeding behaviour and post embryonic development of the lohmanniid mite Haplacarus davisi A. Xavier et al., 2005 were studied in detail by rearing them in specially constructed culture vials, offering their preferred food, under laboratory conditions. Oviposition, hatching, the various developmental stages and total duration in days from egg to adult are described in the present paper. Sketches showing the various life history stages are also given.
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The greater bulk of soil nitrogen is immobilized in chitinous cell walls of fungi. Mycophagous soil mites participate in chitin decomposition and, hence, in the subsequent mobilization of nitrogen. The source of the chitinolytic enzymes was searched in this study. A multimethodical approach was designed for these studies. Histology, plating and identification of bacteria from mite homogenate and, finally, homogenate and bacterial treatment of the soil fungi were applied. Here the presence and activity of chitinolytic bacteria inside mycophagous mites are reported. These bacteria form an extraintestinal group within the mite’s body and pass their enzymes into the mite’s gut. Our results demonstrate that true mycophagous mites, defined by their ability to digest chitin (i.e. the fungal cell wall), achieve this through internal “cooperation” with chitinolytic bacteria that provide the necessary chitinolytic enzymes. The nitrogen from chitin is thus made available to other soil organisms and plants. KeywordsSoil mites-Mycophagy-Associated bacteria-Chitinolytic enzymes-Destruction of soil fungi
Article
Oribatida are one of the main groups of Acari comprising mostly important decomposers in soils. Most species are particle feeders, an exceptional mode of nutrition in Arachnida. Hence, their feeding organs, the gnathosoma, are of special functional interest. We studied nearly all components using scanning and transmission electron microscopies as well as reconstructions based on synchrotron X-ray microtomography from the model oribatid Archegozetes longisetosus. Besides cuticular structures, we describe the full set of muscles and confirm the presence of a trochanter remnant at the base of the chelicera. Setae on the prodorsum and the anterior and posterior infracapitular setae are mechanoreceptors innervated by two dendrites ending with tubular bodies. Dendrites of adoral setae, anterior setae of the chelicerae, and the supracoxal setae show neither obvious tubular bodies nor wall or terminal pores. Thus their function remains obscure. For the first time, a muscular proprioreceptor has been found in Arachnida. It likely monitors the actions of muscles moving the movable digit of the chelicera. Glandular structures within and associated with the gnathosoma are described. Dermal glands represented by secretory porose areas are found within the infracapitulum. More complex associated glands comprise the podocephalic glands and the infracapitular glands, the ducts of which were traced completely for the first time. The components described are mostly fundamental for the gnathosoma of Actinotrichida (Acariformes), one of the two lineages of Acari, to which Oribatida belong. The gnathosoma is generally considered the most relevant putative synapomorphy of Acari. Since the monophyly of Acari has become more and more questionable during the last decades, a thorough reinvestigation of this body part is necessary for a comprehensive understanding of acarine and even arachnid phylogeny and evolution. This article provides a starting point of such a re-evaluation of the gnathosoma.
Chapter
Sensory receptors in Acari are poorly known although extensive research has been reported on other Arthropoda, particularly Insecta. Our investigations of the setae on the first tarsus of the hard ticks, Amblyomma americanum (L.) and Haemaphysalis (Alloceraea) inermis Birula revealed the presence of chemo- and mechanoreceptors, judging from ultrastructural characteristics. A consistent pattern of distribution of tarsal sensilla in the region of Haller’s organ was observed, by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), in the different species and life stages. Presumably chemoreceptive sensilla, resembling one type in the ticks, were found on the first tarsus of the mesostigmatid mite, Macrocbeles muscaedomesticae (Scopoli).
Article
Ein Teil der hier zusammengefaßten wichtigsten Ergebnisse wurde schon vor einiger Zeit als vorläufige Kurzmitteilung veröffentlicht (Schuster 1955a). 1. Die Ernährung von 46 Oribatidenarten wurde durch Untersuchungen des Darminhaltes und durch Fütterungsversuche festgestellt. Die untersuchten Arten konnten in drei ernährungsbiologisch verschiedene Gruppen (Mikrophytenfresser \3- 16 Arten,Makrophytenfresser \3- II,Nichtspezialisten \3- 19) eingeteilt werden. Viele Arten lassen weiterhin innerhalb ihres Ernährungstypus eine noch engere Nahrungsspezialisation erkennen. Die natürliche Hauptnahrung der Mikrophytenfresser besteht unter anderem aus Pollen, Algen, Moosresten, Flechten, verschiedenen Sporen und hauptsächlich aus Pilzhyphen. Makrophytenfresser ernähren sich in der Hauptsache von in Zersetzung begriffenen Streu- und Holzresten, daneben auch von Blatthaaren, Wurzelteilen und ähnlichem makrophytisehen Bestandesabfall. Nur die Phthiracariden sind unter den Makrophytenfressern imstande, Holz als Hauptnahrung aufzunehmen. Nichtspezialisten fressen sowohl mikro- als auch makrophytische Reste in ungefähr gleichem Maße. 2. Tierische Reste scheinen nur ganz selten und vereinzelt als Nahrungskomponente auf, weshalb die untersuchten Arten weder als Räuber, noch als obligate Aasfresser angesehen werden können. 3. Mineralische Bestandteile wurden mit Ausnahme vereinzelt gefundener Mineralkörnchen nie in den Nahrungsballen gesichtet. Die Oribatiden haben demnach keinen Anteil an der Vermengung von organischer und anorganischer Bodensubstanz. 4. Derartspezifische Ernährungstypus wird in bewuchsmäs Big verschie-denen Böden beibehalten und ist von der Jahreszeit völlig unabhängig. 5. Juvenüstadien, die denselben Lebensraum ihrer entsprechenden Adulttiere bewohnen, dürften allgemein auch deren Ernährungstypus angehören. 6. Oribatiden sind durchwegs Primär-Grobzersetzer pflanzlichen Materials. Koprophagie dürfte als natürliche Ernährungsweise nicht in Frage kommen. 7. Zwischen Chelicerenmorphologie und Ernährungstypus lassen sich teilweise verschieden stark ausgeprägte Anklänge von Relationen, jedoch keine klaren Gesetzmä\sBigkeiten feststellen. FürGustavia wurde die Aufnahme fester Nahrungsstoffe nachgewiesen, fürPelops bestätigt. 8. Die bodenbiologische Bedeutung der Oribatiden liegt in der Aufarbeitung von Bodenmikrophyten und von makrophytischem Bestandesabfall, wobei durch die mechanische Zerkleinerung des Pflanzenmaterials eine Vergrö\sBerung der Angriffsflächen für die humifizierend wirkenden physikalisch-chemischen und auch mikrobiellen Bodeneinflüsse geschaffen wird. Während der Darmpassage ist keine Humifizierung, insbesonders des Lignins, jedoch eine günstige Aufbereitung des Pflanzenmaterials für die später ablaufende endgültige Humifizierung der im Boden lagernden Losungsballen anzunehmen.
Article
Sensory structures of ticks have been studied with the scanning electron microscope. Postulations of certain functions of the sensilla have been made with inferences from the literature. The species examined are: Amblyomma americanum, Argas persicus, Boophilus annulatus, Dermacentor andersoni, D. variabilis, Haemaphysalis leporispalustris, Ixodes kingi, and I. ricinus.
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