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Phytonemus pallidus (Banks)
Steneotarsonemus pallidus

Arachnida, Acari, Tarsonemidae .

Cyclamen mite, Strawberry mite

Description, Biology, Life Cycle, Damage, Common Names, Images

Male yellow, smaller than the female, measuring 0.3 mm in length and 0.15 mm in width. Four pairs of legs, the hind pair strongly modified to help the transportation of nymphs and females and the act of mating. Female pale brown, bright with a hard cuticle measuring about 0.22 mm (length) and 0.115 mm (width) (*) (*) .

Host plants: strawberry and various ornamentals, especially cyclamen.
- Adult females usually already mated represent the overwintering forms. During the winter a high mortality occurs among hibernating females. Hibernating places are dead folded leaves and smal cavities on the buds or petioles.

[R]Life Cycle
First generation takes one month but during the summer months each generation is shorter (10 days). Seven generations can take place every year. P. pallidus prefers high relative humidities (80%-90%) and temperatures above 20°C. This species avoids light, taking refuge in the centre of more dense vegetation in the host, the so called "heart" or crown of the plant.

Light or moderate attacks produce wrinkled or undulated upper surfaces of the leaves; small warts can also be seen there. The attacked plant becomes bushy as the leaf petioles cannot expand. Severe attacks result in severe stunting of the plant. Young leaves do not open completely and remain small with very short petioles. Later becoming pale or yellowish, hard and brittle. Finally they turn brown and die (*) .

- Host in Portugal are, by order of importance of damage: Cyclamen spp., african violet (Saintpaulia ionantha) and strawberry.
- In the UK, P. pallidus is recognized as a pest of various plants, usually as various races or subspecies, e.g. P. pallidus pallidus ("cyclamen mite") on cyclamen, etc., P. pallidus fragariae ("strawberry mite") on strawberry.

[R]Common Names
DE: Erdbeermilbe, Erdbeerweichhautmilbe ES: Tarsonemido comun FR: Tarsonème commun IT: Acaro pallido del ciclamino PT: Tarsonemo do ciclamen GB: Strawberry mite, Cyclamen mite

[R] Images

  1. Phytonemus pallidus (Banks) (ACTA)
    Attack on leaf of strawberry
  2. Phytonemus pallidus (Banks) (Coutin R. / OPIE)
    Larva and adult in a flower The latter has been sectioned to show the mites.
  3. Phytonemus pallidus (Banks) (Coutin R. / OPIE)
    Motile individuals and eggs

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