Four-Legged Mites (Eriophyoidea or Tetrapodili)
Reference work entry
The Eriophyoidea or Tetrapodili are unusual mites because they have only two pairs of legs as adults instead of the normal four pairs. Eriophyoid mites are second only to the spider mites in their economic importance as plant pests around the world. Eriophyoid mites are minute, and highly specialized to feed on plants. They are the smallest arthropods that feed on plants, averaging 100–500 µm in length and, despite their very small size which could lead to rapid water loss, some can survive in relatively exposed environments on leaves. The mouthparts of eriophyoids consist of a pair of stylet- like chelicerae and a pair of accessory stylets which are modified palps. The small size of the stylets allows eriophyids to penetrate only about 5 µm into the leaf, so feeding occurs in the plant epidermis (Fig. 84).
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