Macrochelid Mites (Mesostigmata: Macrochelidae) as Biological Control Agents

  • Letícia H. de AzevedoEmail author
  • Rowan M. Emberson
  • Fernanda de C. N. Esteca
  • Gilberto José de Moraes
Part of the Progress in Biological Control book series (PIBC, volume 19)


Macrochelidae are fast-moving, free-living cosmopolitan predators found in habitats that are rich in decaying organic material, including manure. They feed mainly on small arthropods and nematodes, showing great potential as biological control agents. The first publication concerning the predatory behavior of these mites was published only about 70 year ago. The number of publications increased considerably until the mid-1970s, mainly due to the efforts of A. Filipponi and R.C. Axtell, reducing considerably afterward. Macrochelids have received limited attention in most countries. However, researchers involved in the biological control of organisms that spend part of their life in discontinuous habitats, where these mites are most commonly found (especially fly species), might consider macrochelids to deserve special attention. The initial effort in these countries should concentrate on faunistic studies to enable correct determination of the species present, their population dynamics, and their relationships with other organisms. A series of other more applied topics for research could then be established, involving the evaluation of groups of organisms to be targeted for control. Encouragin results obtained by different authors have led to the practical use of macrochelids. Macrocheles robustulus is presently commercially available for the control of pre-pupae and pupae of thrips as well as larvae of Lyprauta sp. (Keroplatidae). More intensive studies of the macrochelids may turn possible the detection of other species with potential for practical use.


Biological Control Agent Dung Beetle Predatory Mite Patchy Habitat Pastoral Setting 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We are especially thankful to the following researchers who provided copies of the papers referred to in this publication: C.H.W. Flechtmann, C.C. Ho, G. Takaku, G.W. Krantz, M. Knapp and R. Abo-Shnaf.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Letícia H. de Azevedo
    • 1
    Email author
  • Rowan M. Emberson
    • 2
  • Fernanda de C. N. Esteca
    • 1
  • Gilberto José de Moraes
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de Entomologia e AcarologiaEscola Superior de Agricultura “Luiz de Queiroz”, Universidade de São PauloPiracicabaBrazil
  2. 2.Department of Ecology, Faculty of Agriculture and Life SciencesLincoln UniversityCanterburyNew Zealand

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