A Long Bite from Oz

Athiasella - a genus named for Claire Athias-Heniot

Athiasella - a genus named for Claire Athias-Heniot

What with all the digression for ants, Canada Day, and the 4th of July, Australian mites have been few and far between here for awhile. So here is a toothy Australian predatory ologamasid mite to tide me over until I have more time. The genus was named after the great French acarologist, Claire Athias-Henriot.

UPDATE – Speaking of great French acarologists, and there have been many, Michel Bertrand, Seige Kreiter and their colleagues put together a Power Point presentation on French acarology for the 6th Symposium of the European Association of Acarologists last year.  Great fun for anyone interested in the history of acarology (and a couple of my images are used for decoration – along with lots from others).

Re: Ologamasidae – the family that Athiasella belongs to – this is yet another example of an early derivative group (within the most successful radiation of the Mesostigmata) that shows very different diversities in the continents derived from ancient Southern (Gondwanan) and Northern (Laurasian) ‘supercontinents’.  Ologamasids are rare and low in diversity in the north, but are a dominant groups of predatory mites in southern continent soils and have even managed to hang on in Antarctica (although just on the Peninsula).

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2 Responses to “A Long Bite from Oz”

  1. Lise Says:

    I found your blog serendipitously whilst looking to identify a group of little almost microscopic critters found on bark mulch. At first I thought it was dust but on closer inspection and then under the microscope (the old trusty one from school days) saw hundreds of mites I think. They are not round, very very tiny (macroscopically they are just movement) whitish tan, longish body, almost beetlish like with from memory 6 legs and found on mulch that was placed on a new garden. They appear on lots of the bark mulch. I couldn’t get a photo as they are way too small but would like to know that they are, may be soil mites? I’m a total newbie with this but would love some ideas

  2. Kaylee Says:

    HA! I saw this image in a presentation recently (you can ask HP about it) and the presenter noted it was an oribatid and I thought: “THAT’S not an Oribatid!!!” I considered pointing this out, but held my tongue. Pfft. Oribatid indeed.

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