Leptus sp., photographed by Tom Murray.

Belongs within: Erythraeoidea.

Leptus is a cosmopolitan genus of erythraeid mites in which adults have the single pair of eyes placed relatively close to the front of the main body. The idiosoma is distinctly bushy and usually darkly coloured (Walter et al. 2009). Larvae have a triangular scutum that is widest anteriorly. They are found on a wide range of hosts, including almost all terrestrial arachnids and insects. The type species Leptus phalangii was, as its name indicates, first described as a larva parasitising a harvestman in Sweden. Adults were initially described as belonging to a genus Achorolophus until rearing experiments established their association with the larvae. The genus Ritteria, originally described by Kramer in 1877, cannot be firmly identified from its original description but has been tentatively regarded as a synonym of Leptus (Southcott 1961).

Characters (from Southcott 1961): Idiosoma with one eye on each side, placed in the adult and nymph alongside the anterior half of the crista. Crista of adult and nymph with two sensillary areas, the anterior at the apex of the propodosoma, and the posterior at the posterior end of the crista. Larva with a triangular dorsal scutum, the apex posterior, and with two pairs of scutalae placed anterolaterally; two pairs of scutal sensillae present, one pair anteromedian, at about the level of the AL scutalae; posterior pair at or near posterior pole of scutum; larval lateral (neolateral) tarsal claws dissimilar.

<==Leptus Latreille 1796S91b [incl. Achorolophus Berlese 1891S91b, Ritteria Kramer 1877S61; Leptinae]
    `--L. (Leptus)H09
         |--*L. (L.) phalangii (de Geer 1778) [=Acarus phalangii]S91b
         |--L. (L.) auliacus Haitlinger 1998H09
         |--L. (L.) barmeedius Southcott 1999H09
         |--L. (L.) batoricus Haitlinger 1998H09
         |--L. (L.) boggohoranus Haitlinger 1990H09
         |--L. (L.) esmaili Saboori & Ostovan 2000H09
         |--L. (L.) heleus Southcott 1993H09
         |--L. (L.) josifovi Beron 1975H09
         |--L. (L.) kamalii Karini Irvanlou & Saboori 2001H09
         |--L. (L.) korematus Southcott 1999H09
         |--L. (L.) korneli Haitlinger 2009H09
         |--L. (L.) mirenae Haitlinger 1994H09
         |--L. (L.) polythrix Fain & Elsen 1987H09
         |--L. (L.) rosellae Haitlinger 1999H09
         `--L. (L.) salicus Haitlinger 2009H09
Leptus incertae sedis:
  L. acuminatus Shiba 1976S76
  L. agrotis Southcott 1993H98
  L. alopecurus Southcott 1991S91b
  L. alvimordax Southcott 1991S91b
  L. americanus Riley 1873 (n. d.)S61
  L. anomalus Southcott 1946S91b
  L. arielWL09
  L. atticolusWY88
  L. bathypogonus Womersley 1934S91b
  L. belicolus Southcott 1993H98
  L. beroni Fain 1991GF11
  L. bicristatusCM07
  L. calidus Shiba 1976S76
  L. cameronensis Shiba 1976S76
  L. cerambycius Southcott 1993H98
  L. charon Southcott 1991S91b
  L. chelonethus Womersley 1934S91b
  L. chibai Shiba 1976S76
  L. clethrionomydis Haitlinger 1987S91a
  L. coccineus (Scopoli 1763)SB63 (see below for synonymy)
  L. comosus Southcott 1991S91b
  L. curtipes Schweizer 1951SB63
  L. debeauforti (Oudemans 1905) (n. d.) [=Erythraeus debeauforti, Achorolophus debeauforti]S91b
  L. dracoS91b
  L. dubius (Paoli 1937) [=Achorolophus dubius]S61
  L. faini Southcott 1993H98
  L. fernandeziWWO01
  L. fortei Southcott 1991S91b
  L. francesi Southcott 1991S91b
  L. gagrellaeCM07
  L. gauphalus Haitlinger 1990H98
  L. georgeae Southcott 1993H98
  L. gifuensisWY88
  L. gyasCM07
  L. halli Southcott 1993H98
  L. hidakaiWY88
  L. hirtipes (Berlese 1910) [=Abrolophus hirtipes]V25
  L. hozumii Shiba 1976S76
  L. ignotis (Oudemans 1903)WY88, S61 [=Erythraeus ignotusS61, Achorolophus ignotusS61]
  L. incertus (Koch 1854) [=Rhyncholophus incertus]S61
  L. indianensisCM07
  L. jenseni Southcott 1993H98
  L. jocqueiCM07
  L. kalaallusCM07
  L. killingtoni Turk 1945S61
  L. lomani [=Erythraeus lomani]S61
  L. maculatus (Banks 1894) (see below for synonymy)S61
  L. mariae Haitlinger 1987MF11
  ‘Abrolophus’ marmoratusS61
  L. molochinus (Koch 1837) [=Rhyncholophus molochinus]SB63
  L. monteithi Southcott 1993H98
  L. murteri Schweizer 1951SB63
  L. muscarum (Linnaeus 1758) [=Acarus muscarum]H98
  L. nearcticusCM07
  L. nemorum (Koch 1835)SB63 (see below for synonymy)
  L. ornatus Womersley 1934H98
  L. orthrius Southcott 1993H98
  L. oudemansiCM07
  L. ovatusS76
  L. phuketicusCM07
  L. puylaertiCM07
  L. pyrenaeus André 1953F91
  ‘Rhyncholophus’ quinquemaculatus [=Trombidium quinquemaculatum, R. (Abrolophus) quinquemaculatus]S61
  L. repensS76
  L. rubricatus (Koch 1837) [=Rhyncholophus rubricatus]SB63
  L. rupestrisW91
  L. schedingi (Oudemans 1911)S91b
  L. siculus [=Rhyncholophus siculus, R. (Abrolophus) siculus]S61
  L. spinalatus Southcott 1993H98
  L. stieglmayri (Oudemans 1905)S91b [=Erythraeus stieglmayriS61]
  L. swani Southcott 1991S91b
  L. tarranus Southcott 1993H98
  L. terebransW34
  L. tetrigius Southcott 1988S91b
  L. titinius Southcott 1993H98
  L. torresianus Southcott 1988H98
  L. trimaculatus (Hermann 1804)SB63 (see below for synonymy)
  L. trucidatus (Hull 1923) [=Achorolophus trucidatus]H98
  L. truncatus Southcott 1993H98
  L. utheri Southcott 1993H98
  L. vertex (Kramer 1881)SB63 (see below for synonymy)
  L. villosusS76
  L. waldockae Fain 1991F91
  L. warregense (Hirst 1928) [=Belaustium (l. c. for Balaustium) warregense]H98
  L. yoshimii Shiba 1976S76

Leptus coccineus (Scopoli 1763)SB63 [=Pediculus coccineusSB63, L. coccineous (l. c.)S61, Pediculeus (l. c.) coccineusS61]

Leptus maculatus (Banks 1894) [=Rhyncholophus maculatus, Rhyncolophus (l. c.) maculatus, Erythraeus (Atomus) maculatus]S61

Leptus nemorum (Koch 1835)SB63 [=Rhyncholophus nemorumSB63, Rh. (Abrolophus) nemorumS61, Rh. (Achorolophus) nemorumS61, *Ritteria nemorumS61]

Leptus trimaculatus (Hermann 1804)SB63 [=Trombidium trimaculatumSB63, Rhyncholophus trimaculatusS61, R. (Abrolophus) trimaculatusS61, R. (Achorolophus) trimaculatusS61]

Leptus vertex (Kramer 1881)SB63 [=Rhyncholophus nemorum vertexSB63, Erythraeus vertexT05, Ritteria vertexT05; incl. Rh. tonsus Koch 1879 (n. d.)T05]

*Type species of generic name indicated


[CM07] Cokendolpher, J. C., & P. G. Mitov. 2007. Natural enemies. In: Pinto-da-Rocha, R., G. Machado & G. Giribet (eds) Harvestmen: The Biology of Opiliones pp. 339–373. Harvard University Press: Cambridge (Massachusetts).

[F91] Fain, A. 1991. Notes on mites parasitic or phoretic on Australian centipedes, spiders and scorpion. Records of the Western Australian Museum 15: 69–82.

[GF11] Gabryś, G., M. Felska, A. Kłosińska, W. Staręga & J. Mąkol. 2011. Harvestmen (Opiliones) as hosts of Parasitengona (Acari: Actinotrichida, Prostigmata) larvae. Journal of Arachnology 39 (2): 349–351.

[H09] Haitlinger, R. 2009. Three new species of mites (Acari: Prostigmata: Erythraeidae) from the Republic of Cape Verde. Biologia 64 (6): 1150–1156.

[H98] Halliday, R. B. 1998. Mites of Australia: A checklist and bibliography. CSIRO Publishing: Collingwood.

[MF11] Mąkol, J., & M. Felska. 2011. New records of spiders (Araneae) as hosts of terrestrial Parasitengona mites (Acari: Actinotrichida: Prostigmata). Journal of Arachnology 39 (2): 352–354.

[SB63] Schweizer, J., & C. Bader. 1963. Die Landmilben der Schweiz (Mittelland, Jura und Alpen): Trombidiformes Reuter, mit 217 Arten und Unterarten und 193 Originalzeichnungen. Denkschriften der Schweizerischen Naturforschenden Gesellschaft [Mémoires de la Société Helvétique des Sciences Naturelles] 84 (2): i–vi, 209–378.

[S76] Shiba, M. 1976. Taxonomic investigation on free-living Prostigmata from the Malay Peninsula. Nature and Life in Southeast Asia 7: 83–229.

[S61] Southcott, R. V. 1961. Studies on the systematics and biology of the Erythraeoidea (Acarina), with a critical revision of the genera and subfamilies. Australian Journal of Zoology 9: 367–610.

[S91a] Southcott, R. V. 1991a. A further revision of Charletonia (Acarina: Erythraeidae) based on larvae, protonymphs and deutonymphs. Invertebrate Taxonomy 5: 61–131.

[S91b] Southcott, R. V. 1991b. Descriptions of larval Leptus (Acarina: Erythraeidae) ectoparasitic on Australian Diptera, and two earlier described Australian larvae. Invertebrate Taxonomy 5: 717–763.

[T05] Trägårdh, I. 1905. Monographie der arktischen Acariden. In: Römer, F., & F. Schaudinn (eds) Fauna Arctica. Eine Zusammenstellun der arktischen Tierformen, mit besonder Berücksichtigung des Spitzbergen-Gebietes auf Grund der Ergebnisse der Deutschen Expedition in das Nördliche Eismeer im Jahre 1898 vol. 4 pp. 1–78. Gustav Fischer: Jena.

[V25] Vitzthum, H. 1925. Fauna sumatrensis. (Beitrag no. 5). Acarinae. Supplementa Entomologica 11: 1–79.

[WL09] Walter, D. E., E. E. Lindquist, I. M. Smith, D. R. Cook & G. W. Krantz. 2009. Order Trombidiformes. In: Krantz, G. W., & D. E. Walter (eds) A Manual of Acarology 3rd ed. pp. 233–420. Texas Tech University Press.

[WY88] Welbourn, W. C., & O. P. Young. 1988. Mites parasitic on spiders, with a description of a new species of Eutrombidium (Acari, Eutrombidiidae). Journal of Arachnology 16: 373–385.

[W91] Witte, H. 1991. Indirect sperm transfer in prostigmatic mites from a phylogenetic viewpoint. In: Schuster, R., & P. W. Murphy (eds) The Acari: Reproduction, development and life-history strategies pp. 137–176. Chapman & Hall: London.

[WWO01] Wohltmann, A., H. Witte & R. Olomski. 2001. Organismal patterns causing high potential for adaptive radiation in Parasitengonae (Acari: Prostigmata). In: Halliday, R. B., D. E. Walter, H. C. Proctor, R. A. Norton & M. J. Colloff (eds) Acarology: Proceedings of the 10th International Congress pp. 83–99. CSIRO Publishing: Melbourne.

[W34] Womersley, H. 1934. A revision of the trombid and erythraeid mites of Australia with descriptions of new genera and species. Records of the South Australian Museum 5 (2): 179–254.

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