Mites as Models
In 2010 for the 50th Anniversary issue of Acarologia, the first scientific journal devoted to the study of mites, Walter and Proctor (yes, that’s us) compared the use of spiders and mites in the scientific literature. Although there were 2–3 times as many citations for mites overall, when only a select subset of high profile journals with broad readerships were searched, spiders came out ahead in every single one, usually by at least twice as many papers (Walter & Proctor 2010). Ecology, genetics and agriculture were the dominant topics in papers involving mites: behaviour, morphology and materials science dominated in those involving spiders. In the latter, the structure of spider webs was the main theme, and there were no papers at all involving mites or mite silk. Even ticks were poorly represented with most papers being devoted to the disease-causing microbes they vector and little on the biology of the ticks themselves. Many of the high-profile journal articles on spiders highlighted fascinating aspects of their behaviour and morphology: courtship behaviour, male ornamentation, male and female genitalic extravagances; maternal care and social behaviour; predatory behaviour and web structure. If you’ve read the preceding chapters of this book, you know that mites have equally fascinating behaviours and morphologies, but you would never know that from reading the pages of Nature, Science, Ecology, Evolution, and the Proceedings of national societies.
KeywordsLyme Disease Oribatid Mite Short Generation Time Phytoseiid Mite Local Mate Competition
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