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Whartonacarus floridensis sp. nov. (Acari: Trombiculidae), with a Taxonomic Review and the First Record of Whartonacarus Chiggers in the Continental United States

Mertins, James W., Hanson, Britta A., Corn, Joseph L.
Journal of medical entomology 2009 v.46 no.6 pp. 1260
Trombiculidae, new species, animal taxonomy, chiggers, hosts, Bubulcus ibis, ectoparasites, biogeography, new geographic records, Southeastern United States, Caribbean
Among several unusual species collected during surveillance of ectoparasites on wildlife hosts in the southeastern United States and Caribbean Region, the larvae of a new species of Whartonacarus were encountered in 2003 on a cattle egret, Bubulcus ibis (L.), in the Florida Keys. This is the first record for a member of Whartonacarus in the continental United States. The mite is described and named as Whartonacarus floridensis Mertins, and the possible significance of this discovery with respect to the “tropical bont tick,” Amblyomma variegatum (F.), is discussed. A brief taxonomic review of Whartonacarus raises questions about the putative synonymy of Whartonacarus nativitatis (Hoffmann) and Whartonacarus thompsoni (Brennan) and suggests that Whartonacarus shiraii (Sasa et al.) may include two distinct taxa. Whartonacarus is redefined, and a revised key to the known taxa is provided. Toritrombicula oceanica Brennan & Amerson is placed in the genus Whartonacarus. Also, Whartonacarus palenquensis (Hoffman) is rejected as a member of this genus and placed in its own new genus, Longisetacarus Mertins.