Experimental and Applied Acarology

, Volume 74, Issue 3, pp 225–238 | Cite as

A preliminary molecular phylogeny shows Japanese and Austrian populations of the red mite Balaustium murorum (Acari: Trombidiformes: Erythraeidae) to be closely related

  • Shimpei F. Hiruta
  • Satoshi Shimano
  • Minoru Shiba


The red mite Balaustium murorum (Hermann) inhabits the Western Palaearctic realm and is well adapted to man-made structures. In Japan, B. murorum had been reported more frequently after the 1980s. A molecular phylogeny based on the nuclear 18S rRNA and mitochondrial COI genes, and including B. murorum individuals from Japan and Austria and representatives of related species from Japan showed four Balaustium species-level lineages in Japan (B. murorum, Balaustium sp. 1, Balaustium sp. 2, Balaustium sp. 3). The B. murorum lineage shared identical 18S sequence and COI haplotype with the Austrian population. Balaustium sp. 1 was detected from the Tokyo and Misaki area (Honshu Island) and was the sister group to B. murorum; the other two lineages inhabited coastal environments of Erimo, Hokkaido Island (Balaustium sp. 2) and Ainan, Shikoku Island (Balaustium sp. 3). The high genetic distances among these four lineages indicate that each lineage is a distinct species, with three of the lineages representing undescribed species. Our results are compatible with the conclusion that B. murorum was introduced to Japan from Europe, although our study did not resolve the polarity or timing of migration events.


Red mites Pest Gene sequence Invasive species Japan 



We thank Dr. Tobias Pfingstl (Institute of Zoology, University of Graz, Graz, Austria), and Mr. Motoyuki Miyake (Osaki City Hall, Osaki City, Miyagi), Dr. Toshimasa Mitamura (Fukushima Agricultural Technology Centre, Fukushima City, Fukushima), Dr. Masanori Okanishi (Misaki Marine Biological Station, The University of Tokyo, Misaki, Miura City, Kanagawa), Dr. Hisanori Kohtsuka (Misaki Marine Biological Station, The University of Tokyo, Misaki, Miura City, Kanagawa), Dr. Mamoru Sekifuji (Misaki Marine Biological Station, The University of Tokyo, Misaki, Miura City, Kanagawa), Dr. Takahiro Murakami (Institute of Decision Science for a Sustainable Society, Kyushu University, Fukuoka City, Fukuoka), and for collecting material, and Dr. Matthew H. Dick (Hokkaido University, Hokkaido) for critical comments on the manuscript. This work was supported by a KAKENHI Grant (JP15K07201) from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Molecular Biodiversity ResearchNational Museum of Nature and ScienceTsukubaJapan
  2. 2.Hosei UniversityTokyoJapan
  3. 3.Matsuyama Shinonome Junior CollegeMatsuyamaJapan

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