Sarraceniopus - Phytophaga, XIV (2004): 299-305 I S S N:...

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Phytophaga, XIV (2004): 299-305 I S S N: 0393 - 8131 Biology of Sarraceniopus darlingtoniae (Histiostomatidae: Astigmata), an obligatory inhabitant of the fluid-filled pitchers of Darlingtonia californica (Sarraceniaceae) N ORMAN J AMES F ASHING Summary Darlingtonia californica is a carnivorous plant with a patchy distribution in coastal Oregon and northern California, USA. A number of arthropod species in- habit and exploit its fluid-filled pitchers; among these is a hististomatid mite, Sar- raceniopus darlingtonia , an obligate inhabitant that feeds on the rich microbial growth associated with decomposing arthropods captured by the pitcher. Males seek out and clasp tritonympal females, guarding them from other males by means of an enlarged second pair of legs. Upon molting, mating takes place. Eggs are laid on the pitcher wall above the fluid line, and, upon hatching, larvae move under the fluid. While larvae and protonymphs remain submerged, other instars can be found both below and above the pitcher fluid. Development from egg to adult is approximately nine days at 20 o C and six days at 25 o C. Mites overwinter as deutonymphs, with the first non-deutonymphal instars found in mid-March. Dispersal to newly forming pitchers on the same plant or closely adjacent plants is through ambulatory activity of deutonymphs rather than phoresy. Key words: Sarraceniopus , Darlingtonia , phytotelmata, pitcher plant. Introduction In recent years phytotelmata have been praised as excellent subjects for testing community theory since they harbor arthropod communities and are natural microcosms that contain relatively few species, can be easily manipulated, and provide for replication. To date, such communities have been used to investigate local and regional variation in food web structure, the meaning of food web patterns, and predation and competition in patchy habitats (see Kitching, 2000 for review). Although mites are common inhabi- tants of phytotelma, often occurring in large numbers, little is known con- Contribution of the 5 th EURAAC - Symposium, Berlin 2004.
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cerning the biology of most species. Mites may be small and difficult to study, but sheer numbers more than compensate for their lack of size. An understanding of the roles that various mite species play in phytotelm com- munities is therefore essential for an understanding of food webs and com- munity dynamics. To date, arthropod communities found in the fluid-filled pitchers of Darlingtonia californica Torrey (Sarraceniaceae) have been used to study resource heterogeneity (Naeem, 1988) and food web dynamics (Nielsen, 1990).This phytotelm community also contains a common mite in- habitant, Sarraceniopus darlingtoniae Fashing & OConnor (Histiostomati- dae), with little known concerning its biology.The present paper provides an overview of the biology and life history of S. darlingtoniae .
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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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Sarraceniopus - Phytophaga, XIV (2004): 299-305 I S S N:...

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