Experimental & Applied Acarology

, Volume 39, Issue 1, pp 41–62 | Cite as

Multiple Environmental Factor Analysis in Habitats of the Harvest Mite Neotrombicula autumnalis (Acari: Trombiculidae) Suggests Extraordinarily High Euryoecious Biology

Article

Abstract

The harvest mite Neotrombicula autumnalis (Trombiculidae) has become a great nuisance in various vegetated areas in Germany over the last 15 years. According to reports of dermatologists, this species appears to have propagated and spread significantly. Moreover, cases of severe trombidiosis or trombidiosis-like skin reactions have been noticed at unusually early times of the year. Due to the lack of scientific studies, little is known about the ecology of N. autumnalis and its distribution, and preferred habitats cannot be predicted. A four-year study was conducted to identify trombiculid foci in different areas of Bonn in order (1) to determine the timing of larvae appearance in different years, (2) to identify the factors that lead to high larvae abundances at the mite foci (‘multiple factor analysis’), and (3) to develop an ecological control strategy. By means of the ‘tile catch method’ (TCM) which turned out to be most appropriate to collect data on the distribution and abundances of trombiculid mites, larvae of N. autumnalis were caught from mid July until the end of October/beginning of November. The distribution of the mites was patchy, supporting the hypothesis that certain factors cause a concentration in foci. Most of the mite foci had a fixed location for at least three years. Efforts to isolate nymphs and adults in larger quantities to gain knowledge about their preferred soil areas and soil depths failed. Only some nymphs of N. autumnalis could be found living 10–40 cm deep in the soil. Due to the restriction that the nymphs and adults can only rarely be isolated in the ground, the analysis of environmental factors was executed based on abundances of questing larvae on the soil surface. The detailed analysis of soil-physical, soil-chemical and meso-faunistic factors could not finally explain the unequal distribution of the mites, although the porosity of the soil had a statistically significant slight influence on the abundance of larvae, and soil pH bordered significance, also suggesting a slight influence. Furthermore, soil temperatures during the winter seasons in three subsequent years appeared too high to affect the harvest mite. The field experiments suggest that N. autumnalis and particularly its larval stages are extremely euryoecious (meaning tolerating very different environmental conditions). Further studies are necessary: additional investigations on the influence of certain abiotic environmental factors on N. autumnalis, the search for factors underlying the rhythmicity of its life cycle (‘zeitgeber’), and the reasons and mechanisms for heterogeneous distribution of soil fauna in general. Ecological control of the mite is, in principle, possible but only after identifying the foci and ascertaining their approximate dimensions with the TCM. This control strategy is the most promising one, albeit very laborious, emphasising the need of further research on the ecology of the harvest mite.

Keywords

Host fauna Long-term measurements Mite foci Multiple survey Soil physics Trombiculids 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Anderson, JM 1977The organisation of soil animal communitiesEcol Bull (Stockholm)251523Google Scholar
  2. Azevedo, AA, Marcos Linardi, P, Coutinho Zanatta, MT 2002Acari ectoparasites of bats from Minas GeraisBraz J Med Entomol39553555CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Boye, P, Kugelschafter, K, Meinig, H, Pelz, H-J 1996Säugetiere in der Landschaftsplanung. Schriftenreihe für Landschaftspflege und Naturschutz, 46.Bundesamt für NaturschutzBonn-Bad GodesbergGoogle Scholar
  4. Breckling, B, Reuter, H 1999

    Modellierung komplexer bodenökologischer Wechselbeziehungen: Ausbreitungsprozesse und Strukturbildung

    Koehler, HMathes, KBreckling, B eds. Bodenökologie interdisziplinärSpringer VerlagBerlin, Heidelberg2742
    Google Scholar
  5. Brennan, JM, Goff, ML 1977Keys to the chiggers of the western hemisphere (Acarina: Trombiculidae)J Parasitol63554566PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bruckner, G, Kalusche, D 1990Boden und Umwelt. Bodenökologisches PraktikumVerlag Quelle & MeyerHeidelberg, WiesbadenGoogle Scholar
  7. Cockings, KL 1948Successful methods of trapping Trombicula (Acarina) with notes on rearing T. deliensisWalch’s Bull Entomol Res39281296CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Czeratzki, W 1972Die Ansprüche von Pflanzen an den physikalischen BodenzustandLandbauforsch Völk243134Google Scholar
  9. Daniel, M 1961The bionomics and developmental cycle of some chiggers (Acariformes, Trombiculidae) in the Slovak CarparthiansCesk Parazitol831118Google Scholar
  10. DeBach, P, Smith, HS 1947Effects of parasite population density on rate of change of host and parasite populationsEcology28290298CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dunger, W 1997

    Anleitung zum Erkennen wichtiger Gruppen der Bodentiere

    Dunger, WFiedler, HJ eds. Methoden der Bodenbiologie2Gustav Fischer VerlagJena353373
    Google Scholar
  12. Dunger, W, Seifert, B 1997

    Quantitative Erfassung der Bodenfauna

    Dunger, WFiedler, HJ eds. Methoden der Bodenbiologie2Gustav Fischer VerlagJena317349
    Google Scholar
  13. Dusbábek, F 1963Parasitische Fledermausmilben der Tschechoslowakei IV. - Fam. Trombiculidae, Sarcoptidae, Ixodidae, Argasidae und Dermanyssidae (Acarina)Casopis Cesk Spol Entomol60332340Google Scholar
  14. Edney, EB 1977Water balance in land arthropods zoophysiology and ecologySpringer VerlagBerlin, HeidelbergGoogle Scholar
  15. Eichler, W 1964Über die Auswirkungen des strengen Winters 1962/63 auf einige Parasiten und ParasitenwirteAngew Parasitol5138150Google Scholar
  16. Elton, C, Keay, G 1936The seasonal occurrence of harvest mites (Trombicula autumnalis Shaw) on voles and mice near OxfordParasitology28110114Google Scholar
  17. Ernsting, G 1977Aspects of predation and the coexistence of collembolan prey speciesEcol Bull (Stockholm)25478480Google Scholar
  18. Garben, AFM, Bronswijk, JEMH, Ebbenhorst Tengenbergen, T 1978Distribution and dispersal of the chigger Neotrombicula autumnalis (Shaw, 1790) (Trombiculidae, Acari). Part I. The behaviour of the unfed and feeding larvaNetherland J Zool28193205Google Scholar
  19. Gasser, R, Wyniger, R 1955Beitrag zur Kenntnis der Verbreitung und Bekämpfung von Trombiculiden, unter spezieller Berücksichtigung von Trombicula autumnalis ShawActa Trop12308326PubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Geißen, V, Flohr, A, Kahrer, R 1997Räumliche Heterogenität von Collembolen in Waldböden mit unterschiedlichem BaumbestandAbh Ber Nat Görlitz69225236Google Scholar
  21. Gregoire-Wibo, C, Snider, RM 1977The intrinsic rate of natural increase: its interest to ecology and its application to various species of collembolaEcol Bull (Stockholm)25442448Google Scholar
  22. Haitlinger, R 1986Arthropod communities occurring on small mammals from ruin environment of urban agglomeration of WroclawActa Parasit Pol30259273Google Scholar
  23. Halopainen, JK, Rikala, R 1995Effects of three insecticides on the activity of non target arthropods in nursery soilActa Zool Fenn196329332Google Scholar
  24. Harrach, T 1978Die Durchwurzelbarkeit von Böden als wichtigstes Kriterium des ErtragspotentialsKali-Briefe (Büntehof)14115122Google Scholar
  25. Harrison, JL 1956The effect of withdrawal of the host on populations of trombiculid mitesBull Raffles Mus28112119Google Scholar
  26. Hassler, D, Kimmig, P 2002Greetings from the forest kindergarten – the harvest mite dermatitisDeut Med Wochenschr1271801Google Scholar
  27. Hoffmann, G 1991Methodenbuch Band I: Die Untersuchung von Böden4VDLUFA VerlagDarmstadtGoogle Scholar
  28. Hubert, AA, Baker, HJ 1963Studies on the habitats and population of Leptotrombidium (Leptotrombidium) akamushi and L. (L.) deliensis in Malaya (Acarina: Trombiculidae)Am J Hygiene78131142Google Scholar
  29. Jones, BM 1950aA method for studying the distribution and bionomics of trombiculid mites (Acarina: Trombiculidae)Parasitology40113Google Scholar
  30. Jones, BM 1950bThe sensory physiology of the harvest mite Trombicula autumnalis ShawJ Exp Biol27461494Google Scholar
  31. Karg, W 1967

    Veränderungen in den Bodenlebensgemeinschaften durch die Einwirkung von Pflanzenschutzmitteln

    Graff, OSatchell, JE eds. Progress in soil biology. Proceedings of the colloquium on dynamics of soil communitiesVerlag Friedrich Vieweg & SohnBraunschweig310319
    Google Scholar
  32. Karg, W 1993

    Acari (Acarina), Milben Parasitiformes (Anactinochaeta), Cohors Gamasina Leach Raubmilben

    Senglaub, K eds. Die Tierwelt Deutschlands und der angrenzenden Meeresteile nach ihren Merkmalen und nach ihrer Lebensweise2Verlag Friedrich Vieweg & SohnBraunschweig310319Teil 59
    Google Scholar
  33. Karg, W 1994Raubmilben, nützliche Regulatoren im Naturhaushalt. Die Neue Brehm-Bücherei Bd. 624Westarp WissenschaftenMagdeburgGoogle Scholar
  34. Keay, G 1937The ecology of the harvest mite (Trombicula autumnalis) in the British IslesJ Anim Ecol62335Google Scholar
  35. Kepka, O 1958Ein Beitrag zur Systematik, Ökologie und Verbreitung von Euschöngastia xerothermobia Willman 1942 (Acari: Trombiculidae, U-Fam. Trombiculinae)Z Parasit18324348Google Scholar
  36. Kepka, O 1964Zur Taxonomie der Formen von Neotrombicula (N.) autumnalis (SHAW 1790), (Acari, Trombiculidae)Z Zool Syst Evol2123173CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Kepka O (1965) Die Herbstmilbe (Neotrombicula autumnalis). Merkblätter über angewandte Parasitenkunde und Schädlingsbekämpfung, 12. Supplement Angew Parasitol 6Google Scholar
  38. Kmoch, HG, Hanus, H 1965Vereinfachte Methodik und Auswertung der Permeabilitätsmessung des Bodens für LuftZ Pflanz Düngung Bodenkunde111110Google Scholar
  39. Kordatzki, W 1948Taschenbuch der praktischen pH-Messung3R. Müller und SteinikeMünchenGoogle Scholar
  40. Krantz GW (1986) A manual of acarology, 2nd edn. CorvallisGoogle Scholar
  41. Krogh, PH 1995Effects of pesticides on the reproduction of Hypoaspis aculeifer (Gamasida: Laelapidae) in the laboratoryActa Zool Fenn196333337Google Scholar
  42. Lerdthusnee, K, Khlaimanee, N, Monkanna, T, Mungviriya, S, Leepitakrat, W, Debboun, M, Coleman, RE 2003Development of an in vitro method for the evaluation of candidate repellents against Leptotrombidium (Acari: Trombiculidae) chiggersJ Med Entomol406467PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Literák, I, Honza, M, Pinowska, B, Haman, A 2001Larvae of trombiculid mites (Acarina: Trombiculidae) in wild birds in Slovak and Polish CarpathiansActa Veter BRNO70479483Google Scholar
  44. Minter, DM 1957Some field and laboratory observations on the British harvest mite, Trombicula autumnalis ShawParasitology47185193PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Moritz, M 1993

    Acari

    Gruner, H-E eds. Lehrbuch der Speziellen Zoologie (Begr. A. Kaestner). Bd. I: Wirbellose Tiere. 4. Teil: Arthropoda (ohne Insecta)Gustav Fischer VerlagJena, Stuttgart, New York310402
    Google Scholar
  46. Mumcuoglu, Y, Rufli, Th 1983

    21. Trombiculidae/Herbstmilben. 22. Demeodicidae/Haarbalgmilben. 23. Dermanyssidae/Raubmilben. 24. Cheyletiellidae/Pelzmilben. 25. Pyemotidae/Kugelbauchmilben

    Metz, J eds. Dermatologische entomologiePerimed Fachbuch-VerlagsgesellschaftErlangen158192
    Google Scholar
  47. Mumcuoglu, KY, Volman, Y 1988Thrips stings in Israel: a case reportIsr J Med Sci24715PubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. Niethammer, J, Krapp, F 1978Handbuch der Säugetiere Europas, Bd. 1, Rodentia 1Akademische VerlagsgesellschaftWiesbadenGoogle Scholar
  49. Niethammer, J, Krapp, F 1982Handbuch der Säugetiere Europas, Bd. 2/1. Rodentia 2Akademische VerlagsgesellschaftWiesbadenGoogle Scholar
  50. Niethammer, J, Krapp, F 1990Handbuch der Säugetiere Europas, Bd. 3/1. Insektenfresser - Insectivora, Herrentiere - PrimatesAula-VerlagWiesbadenGoogle Scholar
  51. Qadripur, SA, Kant, U 1996Cheyletiellose. Eine lokalisierte Prurigo bei Menschen wird durch Tiermilben ausgelöstDeut Ärzteb93587588Google Scholar
  52. Remmert, H 1992Ökologie5Springer VerlagBerlin, HeidelbergGoogle Scholar
  53. Richards, LA, Fireman, U 1943Pressure-plate apparatus for measuring moisture sorption and transmission by soilsJ Soil Sci (Soil Sci Soc Am J Arch [electronic resource])56395404Google Scholar
  54. Rodríguez-Casado, MJ, Cerro-González, R, Martín-Blázquez, JL, Vázquez-Contioso, M 2004Outbreak of Pyemotes dermatitis in an elementary schoolEnf Infec Microbiol Clin22370371CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Rowell, DL 1997BodenkundeSpringer VerlagBerlin, HeidelbergGoogle Scholar
  56. Salin, C, Vermon, P, Vannier, G 1999Effects of temperature and humidity on transpiration in adults of the lesser mealworm, Alphitobius diaperinus (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae)J Insect Physiol45907914PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Schaefer, M 1995Interspecific interactions in the soil communityActa Zool Fenn196101106Google Scholar
  58. Scheffer, F, Schachtschabel, P 1998Lehrbuch der Bodenkunde14Ferdinand Enke VerlagStuttgartGoogle Scholar
  59. Schlichting, E, Blume, H-P, Stahr, K 1995Bodenkundliches Praktikum2Blackwell Wissenschafts-VerlagBerlin, WienGoogle Scholar
  60. Simonová, V 1977Laboratory culturing of chiggers (Acarina: Trombiculidae)Folia Parasitol (Prague)24285288Google Scholar
  61. Smal, D, Jasmin, P, Mercier, P 2004Treatment of Neotrombicula autumnalis dermatitis in dogs using two topical permethrin-pyriproxyfen combinationsJ Small Anim Pract4598103PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Storch, V, Welsch, U 1997Systematische zoologie5Gustav Fischer VerlagStuttgart, Jena, Lübeck, Ulm282289Google Scholar
  63. Struppe, T 1994Untersuchungen zur Milbensituation in Siegen und Erarbeitung von Problemlösungen. AbschlussberichtAmt für Umweltschutz der Stadt SiegenSiegenGoogle Scholar
  64. Sy, M 1986Über die Herbstmilbe – Neotrombicula autumnalis (Shaw) – und Versuche zu ihrer BekämpfungBundesgesundheitsblatt29237243Google Scholar
  65. Takahashi, M, Machida, K, Murata, M, Misuli, H, Hori, E, Kawamura, A,Jr, Tanaka, H 1993Seasonal development of Leptotrombidium pallidum (Acari: Trombiculidae) observed by experimental rearing in the natural environmentJ Med Entomol30320325PubMedGoogle Scholar
  66. Toldt, K 1946Neuerliche Betrachtungen über Trombicula-Herde und Trombidiose-Endemien in Mitteleuropa mit besonderer Berücksichtigung der österreichischen AlpenländerBer Nat-Med Ver Innsbruck475369Google Scholar
  67. Topp, W 1981Biologie der BodenorganismenQuelle & MeyerHeidelbergGoogle Scholar
  68. Peenen, PFD, Lien, J-C, Santana, FJ, See, R 1976Correlation of chigger abundance with temperature at a hyperendemic focus of scrub typhusJ Parasitol62653654PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Vannier, G 1983

    The importance of ecophysiology for both biotic and abiotic studies of the soil

    Lebrun, PhAndré, AMedts, CGrégoire-Wibo, CWauthy, G eds. New trends in soil biology: proceedings of the VIII. intl. colloquium of soil zoology. Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium), August 30–September 2, 1982Dieu-BrichartOttignies-Louvain-la-Neuve289314
    Google Scholar
  70. Varma, MGR 1993

    Ticks and mites (Acari)

    Lane, RPCrosskey, RW eds. Medical insects and arachnidsChapman & HallLondon644658
    Google Scholar
  71. Vater, G 1981Die Erntemilbe Neotrombicula autumnalis im Gebiet von LeipzigAngew Parasitol223238PubMedGoogle Scholar
  72. Vercammen-Grandjean, PH 1960Introduction a un essai de classification rationelle des larves de Trombiculinae Ewing 1944 (Acarina-Trombiculidae)Acarologia2469471Google Scholar
  73. Verhoef, HA 1995Animal ecophysiology: cornerstone for soil ecosystem studies as exemplified by studies on arthropodsActa Zool Fenn196176182Google Scholar
  74. Vitzthum, HG 1930Systematische Betrachtungen zur Frage der TrombidioseZ Parasit2223247CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Waisman, M 1968Thrips bite dermatitisJAMA20482PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Wallwork, JA 1976The distribution and diversity of the soil faunaAcademic PressLondonGoogle Scholar
  77. Wilkinson, PR 1979

    Ecological aspects of pest management of ixodid ticks

    Rodriguez, JG eds. Recent advances in acarology IIAcademic Press IncNew York2530
    Google Scholar
  78. Williams, RW 1946A contribution to our knowledge of the bionomics of the common North American chigger, Eutrombicula alfreddugesi (Oudemans) with a description of a rapid collection methodAm J Trop Med26243250Google Scholar
  79. Wohltmann, A 2001

    Closely related species of Parasitengonae (Acari: Prostigmata) inhabiting the same areas: features facilitating coexistance

    Halliday, RBWalter, DEProctor, HCNorton, RAColloff, MJ eds. Acarology: Proceedings of the 10th international congressCSIRO PublishingMelbourne121135
    Google Scholar
  80. Wohltmann, A, Witte, H, Olomski, R 2001

    Organismal pattern causing high potential for adaptive radiation in Parasitengonae (Acari: Prostigmata)

    Halliday, RBWalter, DEProctor, HCNorton, RAColloff, MJ eds. Acarology: Proceedings of the 10th international congressCSIRO PublishingMelbourne8399
    Google Scholar
  81. Wood, M 1995Environmental soil biologyChapman & HallGlasgowGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arne Schöler
    • 1
    • 2
  • Walter A. Maier
    • 1
  • Helge Kampen
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Medical ParasitologyUniversity of BonnBonnGermany
  2. 2.Arne SchölerBonnGermany

Personalised recommendations