Encyclopedia of Entomology

2008 Edition
| Editors: John L. Capinera

Mites (Acari)

  • Lewis B. Coons
  • Marjorie Rothschild
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-6359-6_4636

Mites belong to the subclass Acari, the largest and most diverse group in the class Chelicera. Because of their small size and secretive lives, much remains to be known about their biology and classification. Mites are distributed worldwide. Some species are of great economic importance as pests of agricultural crops and vectors of important diseases of man, domestic animals and plants.

Evolution and Diversity of Mites

Mites are an ancient group of chelicerates. The earliest known mite fossils are from the Devonian period of geologic time. The fossil record suggests that during the late Mesozoic to early Cenozoic an adaptive radiation of mites occurred with the development of many nonpredatory species. Flowering plants and insects as well as birds and mammals became more widespread during this same period, providing many novel habitats for mites to exploit.

Mites are distributed throughout the world and inhabit almost every ecosystem. They play an important ecological role as...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lewis B. Coons
    • 1
  • Marjorie Rothschild
    • 1
  1. 1.The University of MemphisMemphisUSA