, Volume 35, Issue 3, pp 197-213

Biology and phenology of the eriophyid mite, Floracarus perrepae , on its native host in Australia, Old World climbing fern, Lygodium microphyllum

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The biology and phenology of the eriophyid mite, Floracarus perrepae Knihinicki and Boczek, a potential biological control agent of Lygodium microphyllum (Cav.) R. Br., was studied in its native range – Queensland, Australia. F. perrepae forms leaf roll galls on the subpinnae of L. microphyllum. It has a simple biology, with females and males produced throughout the year. The population was female biased at 10.5 to 1. The immature development time was 8.9 ± 0.1 and 7.0 ± 0.1 days; adult longevity was 30.6 ± 1.6 and 19.4 ± 1.2 days and mean fecundity per female was 54.5 ± 3.2 and 38.5 ± 1.6 eggs at 21 and 26 °C, all respectively. Field studies showed that the mite was active year round, with populations peaking when temperatures were cool and soil moisture levels were highest. Two species of predatory mites, Tarsonemus sp. and a species of Tydeidae, along with the pathogen Hirsutella thompsonii, had significant effects on all life stages of F. perrepae. Despite high levels of predators and the pathogen, F. perrepae caused consistent damage to L. microphyllum at all the field sites over the entire 2 years of the study.