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Unformatted text preview: Astigmatid mites (Acari: Sarcoptiformes) of forensic interest Barry M. OConnor Received: 11 May 2009 / Accepted: 18 May 2009 / Published online: 16 July 2009 Ó Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009 Abstract This paper reviews the occurrence of mites of the infraorder Astigmata in sit- uations involving the legal system, particularly in the area of medicocriminal entomology. Species in the families Acaridae, Lardoglyphidae and Histiostomatidae are encountered in stored food products and in vertebrate carrion, including human remains. Some of these species are incidentals, whereas others are obligate necrophages. Phoretic associations between these mites and insects allows for rapid dispersal and colonization of such patchy resources. Keywords Forensic entomology Á Phoresy Á Carrion Á Cannabis Introduction Mites of the infraorder Astigmata (Order Acariformes, Suborder Sarcoptiformes) are spets in patchy or ephemeral habitats that are able to exploit such concentrations of organic material via a specialized deutonymphal instar that typically disperses via phoresy on arthropod or vertebrate hosts (OConnor 1982 ; Houck and OConnor 1991 ). From pre- sumably phoretic associations, astigmatid mites have also radiated extensively as perma- nent parasites of birds and mammals. Because these mites have a relatively short generation time, many species can build up large populations on concentrated resource patches. Astigmatid mites enter into forensic cases in all three areas of forensic entomology identified by Catts and Goff ( 1992 ): urban, stored-product, and medicocriminal forensic entomology. Astigmatid mites are the dominant component of the acarofauna of house dust and stored food products (Hughes 1976 ; Wharton 1976 ; Colloff and Stewart 1997 ). Forensic aspects of house dust mites, including their implication as proximal causes of death by anaphylaxis in sensitive persons (Edston and van Hage-Hamsten 2003 ), are B. M. OConnor ( & ) Museum of Zoology & Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1079, USA e-mail: [email protected] 123 Exp Appl Acarol (2009) 49:125–133 DOI 10.1007/s10493-009-9270-2 treated in a companion article (Solarz 2009 ). With respect to contamination of stored food products, although astigmatid mites can cause extensive damage, they are typically overshadowed in the legal arena by insect pests in these commodities. The small size, high species diversity, and difficult and incomplete taxonomy of these mites have caused them to be largely overlooked by the legal system (Hughes 1976 ; Smiley 1987 ). Lastly, many astigmatid mites are obligate or facultative inhabitants of vertebrate carrion and have been encountered both in legal cases involving human corpses and from analytical studies of faunal succession in animal carcasses....
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This note was uploaded on 05/01/2011 for the course BIOLOGY 2114 taught by Professor Gd during the Spring '10 term at Georgia Southern University .
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