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Marble leaf erineum mite - Acalitus carpatus

By N A Martin (2018)

Classification

Phylum:
Arthropoda
Class:
Arachnida
Subclass:
Acari
Order:
Trombidiformes
Suborder:
Prostigmata
Superfamily:
Eriophyoidea
Family:
Eriophyidae
Subfamily:
Eriophyinae
Tribe:
Aceriini
Scientific Name:
Acalitus carpatus Manson, 1984
  • Drawing of side view of an adult Marble leaf erineum mite, Acalitus carpatus (Acari: Eriophyidae). The adult mite is very tiny, 0.101-0.162 mm long. Image: Dave Manson © Drawing published in Fauna of New Zealand 1984, vol. 5, fig. 16.
    Drawing of side view of an adult Marble leaf erineum mite, Acalitus carpatus (Acari: Eriophyidae). The adult mite is very tiny, 0.101-0.162 mm long. Image: Dave Manson © Drawing published in Fauna of New Zealand 1984, vol. 5, fig. 16.
  • Underside of a leaf of Marble leaf, Carpodetus serratus (Rousseaceae) with white erineum induced by Marble leaf erineum mites, Acalitus carpatus (Acari: Eriophyidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Underside of a leaf of Marble leaf, Carpodetus serratus (Rousseaceae) with white erineum induced by Marble leaf erineum mites, Acalitus carpatus (Acari: Eriophyidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
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Common Names

Marble leaf erineum mite, Putaputaweta leaf erineum mite
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Biostatus and Distribution

This endemic gall mite has been found in the North and South Islands of New Zealand on its host plant, Marble leaf, Carpodetus serratus (Rousseaceae). The mite induces white hairs, erineum, on the upper and/or underside of leaves.

Conservation status: Not threatened.

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Life Stages and Annual Cycle

This gall mite is very tiny. Adult female mites are about, 0.101-0.162 mm long. The adult mite is like a tiny white cow’s horn with two pairs of legs at the wide end of the horn. Adult female mites lay tiny spherical eggs. The larva that hatches from an egg looks like a tiny adult. The mite larva moults (changes skin) into a nymph. There is one nymphal stage that also looks like a small adult. The last juvenile stage moults into an adult mite. There are males and females.

Walking
The mite uses the legs for walking, but it can also hold on to the plant with the tip of its abdomen, which acts as a sucker.

Feeding and forming the erineum gall.
The mites have pointed mouth parts that puncture the surface cells of plant leaves. They suck up the cell contents. During feeding, the mites may inject saliva into the plant. When this happens on young expanding leaves, chemicals in the saliva induce the plant to grow hairs on the leaf surface. These growths form the gall called an 'erineum'. The mites shelter amongst the hairs and feed and breed there. The erineum protects the gall mites from predators. The gall may also maintain a high humid atmosphere around the mites.

Dispersal to new leaves and plants.
When the plant grows new shoots, adult female mites disperse to the new leaves and their feeding causes a new erineum to form. It is presumed some mites walk from the old leaves to the new growths. When this gall mite colonises new plants, it is unlikely that mites walk all the way. It is possible that mites could be transferred on leaves, but it is believed that most mites are dispersed by wind. Some species of mite climb to prominent places on plants and stand waiting for a gust of wind to take them away.

  • Drawing of side view of an adult Marble leaf erineum mite, Acalitus carpatus (Acari: Eriophyidae). The adult mite is very tiny, 0.101-0.162 mm long. Image: Dave Manson © Drawing published in Fauna of New Zealand 1984, vol. 5, fig. 16.
    Drawing of side view of an adult Marble leaf erineum mite, Acalitus carpatus (Acari: Eriophyidae). The adult mite is very tiny, 0.101-0.162 mm long. Image: Dave Manson © Drawing published in Fauna of New Zealand 1984, vol. 5, fig. 16.
  • Underside of a leaf of Marble leaf, Carpodetus serratus (Rousseaceae) with white erineum induced by Marble leaf erineum mites, Acalitus carpatus (Acari: Eriophyidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Underside of a leaf of Marble leaf, Carpodetus serratus (Rousseaceae) with white erineum induced by Marble leaf erineum mites, Acalitus carpatus (Acari: Eriophyidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • A section through a leaf of Marble leaf, Carpodetus serratus (Rousseaceae) and the white erineum induced by Marble leaf erineum mites, Acalitus carpatus (Acari: Eriophyidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    A section through a leaf of Marble leaf, Carpodetus serratus (Rousseaceae) and the white erineum induced by Marble leaf erineum mites, Acalitus carpatus (Acari: Eriophyidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Upper side of young leaves of Marble leaf, Carpodetus serratus (Rousseaceae) with white erineum induced by Marble leaf erineum mites, Acalitus carpatus (Acari: Eriophyidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Upper side of young leaves of Marble leaf, Carpodetus serratus (Rousseaceae) with white erineum induced by Marble leaf erineum mites, Acalitus carpatus (Acari: Eriophyidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • White erineum induced by Marble leaf erineum mites, Acalitus carpatus (Acari: Eriophyidae) on the upper side of a leaf of Marble leaf, Carpodetus serratus (Rousseaceae): note the discolouration in areas beneath the erineum on the upper side. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    White erineum induced by Marble leaf erineum mites, Acalitus carpatus (Acari: Eriophyidae) on the upper side of a leaf of Marble leaf, Carpodetus serratus (Rousseaceae): note the discolouration in areas beneath the erineum on the upper side. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
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Recognition

This mite requires special procedures and taxonomic knowledge to identify specimens. However, its presence on a plant can be recognised from associated plant damage symptoms. This mite species is the only one known to induce an erineum on leaves of Marble leaf, Carpodetus serratus (Rousseaceae). The erineum may be induced on the upper or underside of young leaves. Old erineum turns brown and some leaves may turn yellow on the other side of the leaf.

Erineum on other plants is caused by other species of mite.

  • Underside of a leaf of Marble leaf, Carpodetus serratus (Rousseaceae) with white erineum induced by Marble leaf erineum mites, Acalitus carpatus (Acari: Eriophyidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin
    Underside of a leaf of Marble leaf, Carpodetus serratus (Rousseaceae) with white erineum induced by Marble leaf erineum mites, Acalitus carpatus (Acari: Eriophyidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin
  • Underside of a leaf of Marble leaf, Carpodetus serratus (Rousseaceae) with white erineum induced by Marble leaf erineum mites, Acalitus carpatus (Acari: Eriophyidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin
    Underside of a leaf of Marble leaf, Carpodetus serratus (Rousseaceae) with white erineum induced by Marble leaf erineum mites, Acalitus carpatus (Acari: Eriophyidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin
  • White erineum induced by Marble leaf erineum mites, Acalitus carpatus (Acari: Eriophyidae) on the upper side of a leaf of Marble leaf, Carpodetus serratus (Rousseaceae): note the small patch of erineum on the underside of the leaf and the discolouration in areas beneath the erineum on the under upper side. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    White erineum induced by Marble leaf erineum mites, Acalitus carpatus (Acari: Eriophyidae) on the upper side of a leaf of Marble leaf, Carpodetus serratus (Rousseaceae): note the small patch of erineum on the underside of the leaf and the discolouration in areas beneath the erineum on the under upper side. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Three leaves of Marble leaf, Carpodetus serratus (Rousseaceae) with brownish erineum induced by Marble leaf erineum mites, Acalitus carpatus (Acari: Eriophyidae): note the yellow areas on the upper side of the left leaf. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Three leaves of Marble leaf, Carpodetus serratus (Rousseaceae) with brownish erineum induced by Marble leaf erineum mites, Acalitus carpatus (Acari: Eriophyidae): note the yellow areas on the upper side of the left leaf. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Three old leaves of Marble leaf, Carpodetus serratus (Rousseaceae) with brown erineum induced by Marble leaf erineum mites, Acalitus carpatus (Acari: Eriophyidae): note the yellow areas on the upper side of the left and centre leaf. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Three old leaves of Marble leaf, Carpodetus serratus (Rousseaceae) with brown erineum induced by Marble leaf erineum mites, Acalitus carpatus (Acari: Eriophyidae): note the yellow areas on the upper side of the left and centre leaf. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
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Natural Enemies

No natural enemies of this species of mite have been recorded, but predatory mites and predatory gall fly larvae may feed on these mites. A red hairy fly larva that has been found on one patch of erineum could be a predator of these gall mites.

  • Red hairy fly larva (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae) in the erineum induced by Marble leaf erineum mites, Acalitus carpatus (Acari: Eriophyidae) on the underside of a leaf of Marble leaf, Carpodetus serratus (Rousseaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Red hairy fly larva (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae) in the erineum induced by Marble leaf erineum mites, Acalitus carpatus (Acari: Eriophyidae) on the underside of a leaf of Marble leaf, Carpodetus serratus (Rousseaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Three images of a red hairy fly larva (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae) in the erineum induced by Marble leaf erineum mites, Acalitus carpatus (Acari: Eriophyidae) on the underside of a leaf of Marble leaf, Carpodetus serratus (Rousseaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Three images of a red hairy fly larva (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae) in the erineum induced by Marble leaf erineum mites, Acalitus carpatus (Acari: Eriophyidae) on the underside of a leaf of Marble leaf, Carpodetus serratus (Rousseaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
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Host Plants

The Marble leaf erineum mite is only found on leaves of Marble leaf, Carpodetus serratus (Rousseaceae). The mites have pointed mouth parts that puncture the surface cells of young leaves. Their feeding induces the plant to grow white hairs that are called erineum. The erineum is found in patches on either side of leaves. The older erieneum becomes brown.

  • Underside of a leaf of Marble leaf, Carpodetus serratus (Rousseaceae) with white erineum induced by Marble leaf erineum mites, Acalitus carpatus (Acari: Eriophyidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin
    Underside of a leaf of Marble leaf, Carpodetus serratus (Rousseaceae) with white erineum induced by Marble leaf erineum mites, Acalitus carpatus (Acari: Eriophyidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin
  • Underside of a leaf of Marble leaf, Carpodetus serratus (Rousseaceae) with white erineum induced by Marble leaf erineum mites, Acalitus carpatus (Acari: Eriophyidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin
    Underside of a leaf of Marble leaf, Carpodetus serratus (Rousseaceae) with white erineum induced by Marble leaf erineum mites, Acalitus carpatus (Acari: Eriophyidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin
  • Upper side of young leaves of Marble leaf, Carpodetus serratus (Rousseaceae) with white erineum induced by Marble leaf erineum mites, Acalitus carpatus (Acari: Eriophyidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin
    Upper side of young leaves of Marble leaf, Carpodetus serratus (Rousseaceae) with white erineum induced by Marble leaf erineum mites, Acalitus carpatus (Acari: Eriophyidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin
  • Three old leaves of Marble leaf, Carpodetus serratus (Rousseaceae) with brown erineum induced by Marble leaf erineum mites, Acalitus carpatus (Acari: Eriophyidae): note the yellow areas on the upper side of the left and centre leaf. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Three old leaves of Marble leaf, Carpodetus serratus (Rousseaceae) with brown erineum induced by Marble leaf erineum mites, Acalitus carpatus (Acari: Eriophyidae): note the yellow areas on the upper side of the left and centre leaf. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • A shoot of Marble leaf, Carpodetus serratus (Rousseaceae) with yellow marks on the upper side of leaves. On the underside of the leaves is erineum induced by Marble leaf erineum mites, Acalitus carpatus (Acari: Eriophyidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    A shoot of Marble leaf, Carpodetus serratus (Rousseaceae) with yellow marks on the upper side of leaves. On the underside of the leaves is erineum induced by Marble leaf erineum mites, Acalitus carpatus (Acari: Eriophyidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
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Additional Information

Eriophyid gall mites belong to the super family Eryiophyoidea. These mites have several unusual features. For example, though most mites have four pairs of legs like spiders, Eriophyoid mites have only two pairs of legs. Many of these mites can induce host plants to form galls, some of which may be very complex. Some species of these mites can transmit plant viruses that may cause plant diseases and plant death.

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Information Sources

Manson DCM 1984. Eriophyinae (Arachnida: Acari: Eriophyoidea). Fauna of New Zealand 5: 1-123.

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Acknowledgements

The New Zealand Plant & Food Research Institute Limited (Plant & Food Research) for permission to use photographs.

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Suggested Citation

Martin NA. 2018. Marble leaf erineum mite - Acalitus carpatus. Interesting Insects and other Invertebrates. New Zealand Arthropod Factsheet Series Number 156. http://nzacfactsheets.landcareresearch.co.nz/Index.html. Date Accessed. ISSN 1179-643X.

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