Experimental and Applied Acarology

, Volume 42, Issue 4, pp 225–238 | Cite as

Host race formation in the Acari

  • Sara Magalhães
  • Mark R. Forbes
  • Anna Skoracka
  • Masahiro Osakabe
  • Christine Chevillon
  • Karen D. McCoy
Review Paper


Host race formation generates diversity within species and may even lead to speciation. This phenomenon could be particularly prevalent in the Acari due to the often intimate interaction these species have with their hosts. In this review, we explore the process of host race formation, whether it is likely to occur in this group and what features may favour its evolution. Although few studies are currently available and tend to be biased toward two model species, results suggest that host races are indeed common in this group, and more likely to occur when hosts are long-lived. We discuss future directions for research on host-associated adaptations in this group of organisms and the potential relevance of host race formation for the biodiversity of mites and ticks.


Host race formation Specialization Molecular markers Experimental evolution Genetic diversity Local adaptation 



This paper was inspired by a symposium on Host-Race Formation, organised by KM and SM at the International Congress of Acarology held in Amsterdam in August 2006. Comments by Isabelle Olivieri were highly appreciated. SM was funded by a grant from the Portuguese Science Foundation (FCT- BI 15997). KM and CC were supported by the CNRS and the IRD, and by funding from the BRG (project n° 53), the French Polar Institute (IPEV programme n°333) and the ANR (project Jeunes chercheurs-jeunes chercheuses “VectorAdapt”). MRF was supported by a NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada) discovery grant. CC received funding by the French Ministry of Ecology (InvaBio program). This is publication ISEM–2007–063 of the Institut des Sciences de l’Evolution, Montpellier.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sara Magalhães
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mark R. Forbes
    • 3
  • Anna Skoracka
    • 4
  • Masahiro Osakabe
    • 5
  • Christine Chevillon
    • 6
  • Karen D. McCoy
    • 6
  1. 1.Instituto Gulbenkian de CiênciaEvolutionary Genetics GroupOeirasPortugal
  2. 2.Laboratoire de Génétique et Environement, Institut des Sciences de l’EvolutionUniversité de Montpellier IIMontpellierFrance
  3. 3.Department of BiologyCarleton UniversityOttawaCanada
  4. 4.Department of Animal Taxonomy and Ecology, Faculty of BiologyAdam Mickiewicz UniversityPoznanPoland
  5. 5.Laboratory of Ecological Information, Graduate School of AgricultureKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan
  6. 6.Génétique et Evolution des Maladies InfectieusesUMR CNRS/IRD 2724MontpellierFrance

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