Sunday, 17 November 2002 - 8:05 AM

This presentation is part of : Acarology Submitted Papers

Mite bothridial setae: Structure and function

Ronald Ochoa1, Eric Erbe2, Charlie Murphy2, Elliot Herman2, Ethan C. Kane3, and William P. Wergin4. (1) USDA-ARS, Systematic Entomology Laboratory, 10300 Baltimore Avenue, Building 005, Room 137, BARC-WEST, Beltsville, MD, (2) USDA-ARS-Soybean Genomics, Soybean Genomics & Improvement Laboratory, BARC WEST, Beltsville, MD, (3) University of Maryland, Department of Entomology, Plant Sciences Building, College Park, MD, (4) USDA-ARS, Nematology Laboratory, Bldg. 011A, Rm. 165, 10300 Baltimore Ave, Beltsville, MD

The function of the bothridial setae in mites has not been determined. Recent studies of mite material by low-temperature scanning electron microscopy have revealed unusual behaviors of the bothridial setae in response to electron beam exposure. Movements and periodic oscillations of the bothridial setae have been observed when exposed to electrons having energies in the range of 10 KV. No other seta exhibits this movement when exposed to an electron beam and simple charging effects can be discounted. Movements have been observed in over seven species of mites which have bothridial setae and the effect is observable in over ~80% of those exposed to the beam. Ultrastructural studies reveal characteristics of a high voltage insulator, gross external structure resembles that of an electroscope and orientation with respect to the mite that of a directional antenna. Evidence points to the function of the bothridial setae as directional electrostatic detectors for the location of prey by following their residual electrical trails.

Species 1: Acari Pyemotidae Pyemotes tritici (straw-itch mite)
Keywords: setal morphology, mite behavior

Back to Acarology Submitted Papers
Back to Informal Conferences
Back to The ESA 2001 Annual Meeting - 2001: An Entomological Odyssey