Polyphagotarsonemus latus

Broad mite


The broad mite (Polyphagotarsonemus latus) occurs in the tropics and in greenhouses in temperate regions. The broad mite (Polyphagotarsonemus latus) has a wide range of host plants, especially peppers, but also aubergine, tomato and cucumber. Additionally, many ornamental crops such as azalea, begonia, gerbera and cyclamen are also affected. Outside in temperate climates, broad mites (Polyphagotarsonemus latus) are not a serious problem, as they are unable to overwinter.

Mites belonging to the family of tarsonemids (Tarsonemidae) display a greater diversity of feeding habits than any other mite family. There are species that feed on fungi, algae, plants, as well as insect and mite predators and parasites. Those living on plants can cause considerable damage to their host.

Tarsonemids like the broad mite (Polyphagotarsonemus latus) can occur both on vegetable and ornamental crops.

Life cycle and appearance of Broad mite

The life cycle of tarsonemid mites has the following stages: egg, larva, and adult. The larvae have three pairs of legs, adults possess four pairs. The last pair of legs in both males and females is different to the others and not used for walking. After moulting to the third larval stage the larvae stay in their cuticle for one or two days and then emerge as adults. This stage is often considered a fourth stage called pupa, false pupa or quiescent nymph. The males use their fourth pair of legs to carry around young pharate females (quiescent nymphs) that are still in their larval cuticle. Mating occurs as soon as the adult female emerges from the larval cuticle. Tarsonemid mites have no eyes.

Female broad mites (Polyphagotarsonemus latus) lay their eggs mainly on the underside of the leaf or on the fruit surface. The elongated, oval eggs are firmly attached to the surface and are rather large (about 0.07 mm) compared with the subsequent, active stages. They are transparent and speckled with white dots.

The larva of the broad mite (Polyphagotarsonemus latus) resembles the adult, but is slightly smaller and has only three pairs of legs.

The emerging adult mite is roughly 0.2 mm long, oval and broad, and pale yellow or yellow-green, depending on the type and quantity of food consumed. Female mites have a white stripe on their backs.