, Volume 54, Issue 3, pp 225-241
Date: 06 Mar 2011

Larval aquatic and terrestrial mites infesting parthenogenetic Ischnura hastata (Odonata: Coenagrionidae) from the Azores islands

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We report here the prevalence of parasitism by water mites (Arrenurus sp.) and terrestrial mites (Leptus killingtoni) on parthenogenetic Ischnura hastata (Odonata: Coenagrionidae) from the Azores islands. Leptus killingtoni was only found on the island of Pico, and the prevalence of infestation was highly variable among the different ponds studied, ranging from 0 to 41%. Leptus killingtoni was observed on three of the four odonate species from the archipelago: I. hastata, I. pumilio, and Sympetrum fonscolombii, all of them new hosts for this species. Aquatic mites have been found parasitizing I. hastata females on the island of São Miguel. The prevalence of mite parasitism by Arrenurus sp. on I. hastata was very low, ranging from 12% (2003) to 1% (2008), and in most of the studied ponds, no mites were found attached to females. Although I. hastata coexists with a sexual congener species in the Azores (I. pumilio), they are syntopic in only a small fraction of ponds. Therefore, a comparison between I. hastata and I. pumilio was insufficient to test the predictions of the Red Queen Hypothesis, and further research on parasitism rates in both species needs to be done. In any case, the low prevalence of mite parasitism found in the Azores, coupled with the fact that most of the populations in the archipelago are almost free from competitors and predators, could explain the persistence of these I. hastata parthenogenetic populations, despite their low levels of genetic variation.