Sunday, December 13, 2009: 9:30 AM
Room 201, Second Floor (Convention Center)
Abstract - A female mite, Bharatoliaphilus punjabensis Prasad, 1975 (Acari: Pterygosomatidae), collected from an Eurasian Collard Dove, Streptopelia decaocto (Frivaldszky), in Ludhiana, state of Punjab, north India has a uniquely elongate, narrow posterior opisthosoma and a reduced number of setae on the idiosoma. This unusual opisthosoma is not found in any other known pterygosomatid mite. The dorsal and ventral setal patterns are close to Pimeliaphilus Trägårdh, 1905 and Hirstiella Berlese, 1920. Most Pimeliaphilus spp. are mostly ectoparasites on arthropods including scorpions, cockroaches and triatomine kissing bugs (Hemiptera: Reduviidae), while most Hirstiella spp. are ectoparasites mostly on Old and New World lizards, Sauromalus spp, Cyclura sp. etc. (Reptilia: Gekkonidae, Iguanidae). The bird host is probably accidental. Because of the long, narrow opisthosoma and reduced number of setae on the body, we hypothesize that the process may be an “ovipositor” for laying eggs under scales or in a cavity of the host, and this mite may be an external parasite or a cavity dwelling mite. Also, we suspect that the host is a lizard and not an arthropod. Reasons for this hypothesis are discussed in the text. Future attempts to re-collect this mite may resolve the mystery about the biology, morphology, ovipositor, distribution, host, and exact niche.