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Parsonsia erineum mite - Eriophyes parsonsiae

By N A Martin (2018)

Classification

Phylum:
Arthropoda
Class:
Arachnida
Subclass:
Acari
Order:
Trombidiformes
Suborder:
Prostigmata
Superfamily:
Eriophyoidea
Family:
Eriophyidae
Subfamily:
Eriophyinae
Tribe:
Eriophyini
Scientific Name:
Eriophyes parsonsiae Manson, 1984
  • Drawing of side view of an adult Parsonsia erineum mite, Eriophyes parsonsiae (Acari: Eriophyidae). The adult mite is very tiny, 0.163-0.225 mm long. Image: Dave Manson © Drawing published in Fauna of New Zealand 1984, vol. 5, fig. 421.
    Drawing of side view of an adult Parsonsia erineum mite, Eriophyes parsonsiae (Acari: Eriophyidae). The adult mite is very tiny, 0.163-0.225 mm long. Image: Dave Manson © Drawing published in Fauna of New Zealand 1984, vol. 5, fig. 421.
  • Underside of a leaf of New Zealand jasmine, Parsonsia heterophylla (Apocynaceae) with white erineum induced by Parsonsia erineum mites, Eriophyes parsonsiae (Acari: Eriophyidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Underside of a leaf of New Zealand jasmine, Parsonsia heterophylla (Apocynaceae) with white erineum induced by Parsonsia erineum mites, Eriophyes parsonsiae (Acari: Eriophyidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
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Common Names

Parsonsia erineum mite, Kaihua gall 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 plants, New Zealand jasmine, Parsonsia species. (Apocynaceae). The mite induces white hairs, erineum, on the 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, 0.163-0.225 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 Parsonsia erineum mite, Eriophyes parsonsiae (Acari: Eriophyidae). The adult mite is very tiny, 0.163-0.225 mm long. Image: Dave Manson © Drawing published in Fauna of New Zealand 1984, vol. 5, fig. 421.
    Drawing of side view of an adult Parsonsia erineum mite, Eriophyes parsonsiae (Acari: Eriophyidae). The adult mite is very tiny, 0.163-0.225 mm long. Image: Dave Manson © Drawing published in Fauna of New Zealand 1984, vol. 5, fig. 421.
  • Underside of a leaf of New Zealand jasmine, Parsonsia heterophylla (Apocynaceae) with white erineum induced by Parsonsia erineum mites, Eriophyes parsonsiae (Acari: Eriophyidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Underside of a leaf of New Zealand jasmine, Parsonsia heterophylla (Apocynaceae) with white erineum induced by Parsonsia erineum mites, Eriophyes parsonsiae (Acari: Eriophyidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Underside of a leaf of New Zealand jasmine, Parsonsia heterophylla (Apocynaceae) with white erineum induced by Parsonsia erineum mites, Eriophyes parsonsiae (Acari: Eriophyidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Underside of a leaf of New Zealand jasmine, Parsonsia heterophylla (Apocynaceae) with white erineum induced by Parsonsia erineum mites, Eriophyes parsonsiae (Acari: Eriophyidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Section through a leaf of New Zealand jasmine, Parsonsia heterophylla (Apocynaceae) with white erineum induced by Parsonsia erineum mites, Eriophyes parsonsiae (Acari: Eriophyidae): note the depression containing the erineum. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Section through a leaf of New Zealand jasmine, Parsonsia heterophylla (Apocynaceae) with white erineum induced by Parsonsia erineum mites, Eriophyes parsonsiae (Acari: Eriophyidae): note the depression containing the erineum. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Section through a leaf of New Zealand jasmine, Parsonsia heterophylla (Apocynaceae) with white erineum induced by Parsonsia erineum mites, Eriophyes parsonsiae (Acari: Eriophyidae): note the depression containing the erineum. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Section through a leaf of New Zealand jasmine, Parsonsia heterophylla (Apocynaceae) with white erineum induced by Parsonsia erineum mites, Eriophyes parsonsiae (Acari: Eriophyidae): note the depression containing the erineum. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Section through a leaf of New Zealand jasmine, Parsonsia heterophylla (Apocynaceae) with old brown erineum induced by Parsonsia erineum mites, Eriophyes parsonsiae (Acari: Eriophyidae): note the depression containing the erineum. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Section through a leaf of New Zealand jasmine, Parsonsia heterophylla (Apocynaceae) with old brown erineum induced by Parsonsia erineum mites, Eriophyes parsonsiae (Acari: Eriophyidae): note the depression containing the erineum. Image: Tim Holmes © 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 species of Parsonsia (Apocynaceae). Erineum on other plants is caused by other species of mite.

  • Leaves of New Zealand jasmine, Parsonsia heterophylla (Apocynaceae) with white erineum on the underside of the upper leaf that was induced by Parsonsia erineum mites, Eriophyes parsonsiae (Acari: Eriophyidae): note on the lower leaf the pale area and upward bulge on its upper side. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Leaves of New Zealand jasmine, Parsonsia heterophylla (Apocynaceae) with white erineum on the underside of the upper leaf that was induced by Parsonsia erineum mites, Eriophyes parsonsiae (Acari: Eriophyidae): note on the lower leaf the pale area and upward bulge on its upper side. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Underside of a leaf of New Zealand jasmine, Parsonsia heterophylla (Apocynaceae) with white erineum induced by Parsonsia erineum mites, Eriophyes parsonsiae (Acari: Eriophyidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Underside of a leaf of New Zealand jasmine, Parsonsia heterophylla (Apocynaceae) with white erineum induced by Parsonsia erineum mites, Eriophyes parsonsiae (Acari: Eriophyidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Underside of a leaf of New Zealand jasmine, Parsonsia heterophylla (Apocynaceae) with old brown erineum induced by Parsonsia erineum mites, Eriophyes parsonsiae (Acari: Eriophyidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Underside of a leaf of New Zealand jasmine, Parsonsia heterophylla (Apocynaceae) with old brown erineum induced by Parsonsia erineum mites, Eriophyes parsonsiae (Acari: Eriophyidae). 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 fly larva that has been found on one patch of erineum could be a gall mite predator.

  • Red fly larva (Diptera) on the edge of brown erineum induced by Parsonsia erineum mites, Eriophyes parsonsiae (Acari: Eriophyidae) on the underside of a leaf of New Zealand jasmine, Parsonsia heterophylla (Apocynaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Red fly larva (Diptera) on the edge of brown erineum induced by Parsonsia erineum mites, Eriophyes parsonsiae (Acari: Eriophyidae) on the underside of a leaf of New Zealand jasmine, Parsonsia heterophylla (Apocynaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Red fly larva (Diptera) on the edge of brown erineum induced by Parsonsia erineum mites, Eriophyes parsonsiae (Acari: Eriophyidae) on the underside of a leaf of New Zealand jasmine, Parsonsia heterophylla (Apocynaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Red fly larva (Diptera) on the edge of brown erineum induced by Parsonsia erineum mites, Eriophyes parsonsiae (Acari: Eriophyidae) on the underside of a leaf of New Zealand jasmine, Parsonsia heterophylla (Apocynaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
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Host Plants

The Parsonsia erineum mite has been found on two species of Parsonsia (Apocynaceae). 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 the underside of leaves. The older erieneum becomes brown.

Table: Host plants of the Parsonsia erineum mite, Eriophyes parsonsiae (Acari: Prostigmata: Eriophyidae) from Plant-SyNZ database (27 October 2018). The reliability score shows the quality of evidence for the host association (1-10, 10=high).
Common Name(s)Scientific NameFamilyReliability IndexBiostatus
New Zealand jasmine, Small flowered jasmine, Akakaikiore, Akakiore, Kaikū, Kaikūkū, Kaiwhiria, Tōtoroene, TōtoroweneParsonsia capsularis (G.Forst.) R.Br.Apocynaceae9endemic
New Zealand jasmine, Akakaikiore, Akakiore, Kaihua, Kaikū, Kaiwhiria, Poapoa, Tautauā, Tawhiwhi, Tūtae-kererūParsonsia heterophylla A. CunninghamApocynaceae10endemic
  • Underside of a leaf of Small flowered jasmine, Parsonsia capsularis (Apocynaceae) with white erineum induced by Parsonsia erineum mites, Eriophyes parsonsiae (Acari: Eriophyidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Underside of a leaf of Small flowered jasmine, Parsonsia capsularis (Apocynaceae) with white erineum induced by Parsonsia erineum mites, Eriophyes parsonsiae (Acari: Eriophyidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Underside of a leaf of Small flowered jasmine, Parsonsia capsularis (Apocynaceae) with white erineum induced by Parsonsia erineum mites, Eriophyes parsonsiae (Acari: Eriophyidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Underside of a leaf of Small flowered jasmine, Parsonsia capsularis (Apocynaceae) with white erineum induced by Parsonsia erineum mites, Eriophyes parsonsiae (Acari: Eriophyidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Leaves of New Zealand jasmine, Parsonsia heterophylla (Apocynaceae) with white erineum on the underside of the upper leaf that was induced by Parsonsia erineum mites, Eriophyes parsonsiae (Acari: Eriophyidae): note on the lower leaf the pale area and upward bulge on its upper side. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Leaves of New Zealand jasmine, Parsonsia heterophylla (Apocynaceae) with white erineum on the underside of the upper leaf that was induced by Parsonsia erineum mites, Eriophyes parsonsiae (Acari: Eriophyidae): note on the lower leaf the pale area and upward bulge on its upper side. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Underside of a leaf of New Zealand jasmine, Parsonsia heterophylla (Apocynaceae) with old brown erineum induced by Parsonsia erineum mites, Eriophyes parsonsiae (Acari: Eriophyidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Underside of a leaf of New Zealand jasmine, Parsonsia heterophylla (Apocynaceae) with old brown erineum induced by Parsonsia erineum mites, Eriophyes parsonsiae (Acari: Eriophyidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Underside of leaves of New Zealand jasmine, Parsonsia heterophylla (Apocynaceae) with old brown erineum induced by Parsonsia erineum mites, Eriophyes parsonsiae (Acari: Eriophyidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Underside of leaves of New Zealand jasmine, Parsonsia heterophylla (Apocynaceae) with old brown erineum induced by Parsonsia erineum mites, Eriophyes parsonsiae (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. Parsonsia erineum mite - Eriophyes parsonsiae. Interesting Insects and other Invertebrates. New Zealand Arthropod Factsheet Series Number 155. http://nzacfactsheets.landcareresearch.co.nz/Index.html. Date Accessed. ISSN 1179-643X.

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