Parasitus coleoptratorum on dor beetle Geotrupes stercorarius, copyright LadyCG.

Belongs within: Parasitidae.

Parasitus is a diverse genus of soil-living predatory mites. Despite their name, they are not parasites; the name originated from a misinterpretation of the behaviour of the phoretic deuteronymphs. Species are characterised by differentiation of the dorsal setae z5 from j5 and j6, with z5 usually being stout and setose (Evans & Till 1979).

A number of Parasitus species are phoretic associates of carabid and silphid beetles. The type species P. coleoptratorum is a predator of early instar house fly larvae. The species P. bituberosus has been proposed as a potential biological control agent for fungus gnats in mushroom cultivation (Lindquist et al. 2009).

Characters (from Evans & Till 1979): Setae z5 of the dorsal hexagon markedly different in form and/or length from j5 and j6, usually stout and setose; corniculi short, not extending to anterior margin of palp femur, lacking grooves; seta a1 of palpfemur bifid or with one or more distinct slender processes; male chelicerae symmetrical; tritosternum of male absent or variously modified, if biramous, base closely associated with genital orifice; genital shield of female subtriangular in outline.

<==Parasitus Latreille 1795H98 [=Gamasus Latreille 1802FH93; incl. Carpais Latreille 1796FH93, Coleogamasus Tichomirov 1969FH93]
|--*P. coleoptratorum (Linnaeus 1758)ET79 [=Acarus coleoptratorumH98, *Gamasus coleoptratorumL02]
|--P. arcticus Karg 1985FH93
|--‘Gamasus’ attenuatusCF77
|--P. berlesei (Willmann 1935)D91
|--P. bituberosus Karg 1972LKW09, FH93
|--‘Gamasus’ cellarisR26
|--‘Gamasus’ ciliatus [=Zercon ciliatus]CF77
|--‘Gamasus’ comosulus [incl. G. arcualis, G. lividus, G. monachus, G. ovatus, G. vegetus]CF77
|--P. congenerKoh91
|--‘Gamasus’ dentatus Ewing 1912FH93
|--P. digitus Fox 1949FH93
|--P. diversusLKW09
|--P. eta Oudemans & Voigts 1904Koe91
|--P. favus Richards 1976FH93
|--‘Gamasus’ fenilis Megnin 1847FH93
|--P. flavolimbatus (Koch 1867) [=Gamasus flavolimbatus]H98
|--P. fucicolus Trägårdh 1906FH93
|--P. gregariusLKW09
|--P. halophilus (Sellnick 1957)M96
|--P. handschini (Schweizer 1922)S61 [=Gamasus handschiniS22]
|--‘Gamasus’ hirtusCF77
|--P. hobbsi Richards 1976FH93
|--P. hyalinusB-SE91
|--P. inaequalis Banks 1914FH93
|--P. inquilinobombus Richards 1976FH93
|--P. intermedius (Berlese 1882)SL71
|--P. jugulatus (Schweizer 1949)S61
|--‘Gamasus’ juloides Say 1821 [=Antennurella juloides]FH93
|--P. kempersiET79 [=Gamasus kempersiS22]
|--P. kraepeliniDW10
|--‘Gamasus’ litus [incl. G. concolor, G. dilatatus]CF77
|--P. lunarisimilis Schweizer 1961S61
|--P. lunulatus (Müller 1859)D91
|--P. magnus (Kramer 1876)D91
|--P. niveusKoh91
|--P. numerusKoh91
|--‘Gamasus’ obovatus Lintner 1887 [=Uropoda obovata non Can. & Berl. 1884]FH93
|--P. papei Karg 1985FH93
|--P. passali (Guérin-Méneville 1844) [=Gamasus passali, Megisthanus passali]FH93
|--P. perthecatus Richards 1976FH93
|--‘Gamasus’ petiolatusCF77
|--‘Gamasus’ pilipes [incl. G. dealbatus]CF77
|--P. rembertiKoh91
|--P. reticulatusS61
|--‘Gamasus’ similisCF77
|--P. spinipes (Koch 1840) (see below for synonymy)T05
|--‘Gamasus’ stercorarius (n. d.)CF77
|--‘Gamasus’ terreus Canestrini & Fanzago 1877CF77
|--‘Gamasus’ tumidulusCF77
|--‘Gamasus’ vepallidus (n. d.)CF77
`--P. womersleyi Nozza 1964H98

Parasitus spinipes (Koch 1840) [=Poecilochirus spinipes; incl. Gamasus borealis Koch 1879, Cystolaelaps borealis, G. rubescens Canestrini 1882, G. tenellus Koch 1879]T05

*Type species of generic name indicated


[B-SE91] Butz-Strazny, F., & R. Ehrnsberger. 1991. The effects of ploughing and rotary cultivation on soil mites with particular reference to the Mesostigmata. In: Schuster, R., & P. W. Murphy (eds) The Acari: Reproduction, development and life-history strategies pp. 473–481. Chapman & Hall: London.

[CF77] Canestrini, G., & F. Fanzago. 1877. Intorno agli Acari Italiani. Atti del Reale Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti, Serie 5, 4: 69–208, pls 2–7.

[DW10] Dabert, M., W. Witalinski, A. Kazmierski, Z. Olszanowski & J. Dabert. 2010. Molecular phylogeny of acariform mites (Acari, Arachnida): strong conflict between phylogenetic signal and long-branch attraction artifacts. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 56 (1): 222–241.

[D91] Dielmann, M. 1991. Computer in acarine taxonomy: a method for systematical analysis of the genus Pergamasus (Acari: Mesostigmata). In: Dusbábek, F., & V. Bukva (eds) Modern Acarology: Proceedings of the VIII International Congress of Acarology, held in České Budĕjovice, Czechoslovakia, 6–11 August 1990 vol. 2 pp. 239–248. SPB Academic Publishing: The Hague.

[ET79] Evans, G. O., & W. M. Till. 1979. Mesostigmatic mites of Britain and Ireland (Chelicerata: Acari-Parasitiformes). An introduction to their external morphology and classification. Transactions of the Zoological Society of London 35: 139–270.

[FH93] Farrier, M. H., & M. K. Hennessey. 1993. Soil-inhabiting and free-living Mesostigmata (Acari-Parasitiformes) from North America: an annotated checklist with bibliography and index. North Carolina Agricultural Research Service, North Carolina State University, Technical Bulletin 302: i–xvi, 1–408.

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

[Koe91] Koehler, H. H. 1991. The impact of aldicarb on the succession of Gamasina; a one year study. In: Dusbábek, F., & V. Bukva (eds) Modern Acarology: Proceedings of the VIII International Congress of Acarology, held in České Budĕjovice, Czechoslovakia, 6–11 August 1990 vol. 2 pp. 749–758. SPB Academic Publishing: The Hague.

[Koh91] Kohn, M. 1991. Influence of the refuse dump biotopes on ecology of some gamasoid mites and ticks. In: Dusbábek, F., & V. Bukva (eds) Modern Acarology: Proceedings of the VIII International Congress of Acarology, held in České Budĕjovice, Czechoslovakia, 6–11 August 1990 vol. 1 pp. 199–204. SPB Academic Publishing: The Hague.

[L02] Latreille, P. A. 1802. Histoire Naturelle, générale et particulière des crustacés et des insectes vol. 3. Familles naturelles des genres. F. Dufart: Paris.

[LKW09] Lindquist, E. E., G. W. Krantz & D. E. Walter. 2009. Order Mesostigmata. In: Krantz, G. W., & D. E. Walter (eds) A Manual of Acarology 3rd ed. pp. 124–232. Texas Tech University Press.

[M96] Munderloh, E. 1996. Gamasina (Mesostigmata) in a dune transect at Spiekeroog (Germany, Lower Saxony). In: Mitchell, R., D. J. Horn, G. R. Needham & W. C. Welbourn (eds) Acarology IX vol. 1. Proceedings pp. 589–594. Ohio Biological Survey: Columbus (Ohio).

[R26] Risso, A. 1826. Histoire naturelle des principales productions de l’Europe méridionale et particulièrement de celles des environs de Nice et des Alpes maritimes vol. 5. F.-G. Levrault: Paris.

[S22] Schweizer, J. 1922. Beitrag zur Kenntnis der terrestrischen Milbenfauna der Schweiz. Verhandl. Naturf. Ges. Basel 33: 23–112, 4 pls.

[S61] Schweizer, J. 1961. Die Landmilben der Schweiz (Mittelland, Jura und Alpen): Parasitiformes Reuter, mit 246 Arten und Varietäten und 268 meist kombinierten Originalzeichnungen. Denkschriften der Schweizerischen Naturforschenden Gesellschaft [Mémoires de la Société Helvétique des Sciences Naturelles] 84: i–vii, 1–207.

[SL71] Spain, A. V., & M. Luxton. 1971. Catalog and bibliography of the Acari of the New Zealand subregion. Pacific Insects Monograph 25: 179–226.

[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.


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