Effect of ectoparasitic Pimeliaphilus plumifer mites (Acari: Pterygosomatidae) on Meccus pallidipennis (Hemiptera: Reduviidae) and several other Chagas’ disease vectors under laboratory conditions
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- Martinez-Sanchez, A., Camacho, A.D., Quintero-Martinez, M.T. et al. Exp Appl Acarol (2007) 42: 139. doi:10.1007/s10493-007-9079-9
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Several biological parameters were evaluated to determine the capacity of Pimeliaphilus plumifer as biological control agent of Triatominae bugs. When P. plumifer and bugs of a variety of triatomine species were forced together in cages in the laboratory, the incidence of mite infestation was the following: Meccus pallidipennis > M. bassolsae > Triatoma rubida > M. longipennis > M. picturatus, and practically no mites were found on T. infestans and Rhodnius prolixus. Adults and hexapod larvae of P. plumifer were the only stages found to parasitize on M. pallidipennis. Fourth and fifth instar nymphs of this bug appeared most susceptible to mite infestation. P. plumifer mites located preferably on the coxae, ventral abdomen and pronotum of M. pallidipennis bugs. The number of blood meals, amount of ingested blood, and resistance to starvation of M. pallidipennis were similar in both the control and the mite infested groups. On the other hand, mite infection reduced molting rate in nymphs and longevity in adults, increased mortality in third-fifth instar nymphs, and fewer viable eggs were laid by females infected with P. plumifer. These effects could be related with nutritional deficiencies. Our results support the use of P. plumifer mites as control agents of host Triatominae species.