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Comparative confocal microscopy of internal genitalia of phytoptine mites (Eriophyoidea, Phytoptidae): new generic diagnoses reflecting host-plant associations

Chetverikov, Philipp E.
Experimental & applied acarology 2014 v.62 no.2 pp. 129-160
Asparagaceae, Cyperaceae, Phytoptus, arthropod pests, confocal laser scanning microscopy, female reproductive system, genitalia, hazelnuts, hosts, image analysis, mites, multivariate analysis
Confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) methods are still rarely used by acarologists although they are very appropriate for studying minute arthropod pests, especially eriophyoid mites. In this paper, the female reproductive system of phytoptines, including the bud mite Phytoptus avellanae, the well-known pest of hazelnut, was studied using CLSM and resulted in new interpretations of the functioning anatomy of phytoptid genitalia. Comparison of cuticle-lined internal genitalia, based on novel CLSM-based 2D and 3D imaging, and multivariate analysis of morphometric measurements, show that two basic types of internal genitalia can be found within Phytoptinae: one type in phytoptines associated with monocotyledoneous hosts (especially Cyperaceae and Asparagaceae), and another one in those associated with various dicotyledoneous hosts. Phytoptines from monocots (genera Oziella and Acathrix and Phytoptus “caricis” sp. group) possess a spherical distal part of the spermathecal tube and a semitriangular transverse genital apodeme, whereas phytoptines from dicots (genus Phytoptus “avellenae” sp. group) possess an elongate distal part of the tube and a trapezoidal apodeme. These differences in the internal genitalic anatomy were used for modifying the diagnosis of phytoptine genera (Phytoptus, Oziella and Acathrix), and reorganizing the Phytoptinae, resulting in new synonymies: 11 species were transferred from genus Phytoptus “caricis” sp. group to the genus Oziella.