acarologia2 - Acarologia 50(1): 131–141 (2010) DOI:

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Unformatted text preview: Acarologia 50(1): 131–141 (2010) DOI: 10.1051/acarologia/20101955 MITES AS MODERN MODELS: ACAROLOGY IN THE 21 ST CENTURY David Evans WALTER 1 and Heather C. PROCTOR 2 (Received 31 December 2009; accepted 12 March 2010; published online 01 April 2010) 1 Invertebrate Zoology, Royal Alberta Museum, 12845 - 102 Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T5N 0M6, [email protected] 2 Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 2E9, [email protected] ABSTRACT — We present a literature survey and analysis of the profile of mites (Acari, exclusive of Ixodida) in recent literature and on the World Wide Web, and compare their prominence to that of spiders (Araneae). Despite having approximately the same number of described species, spiders outshine mites on the Web, although the study of mites (Acarology) is better represented than the study of spiders (Araneology). Broad searches of scientific literature imply that publications on mites exceed those on spiders by 2-3x; however, this dominance was reversed when a smaller number of journals with broad readerships and no taxonomic orientation (e.g., Nature, Science ) were surveyed. This latter analysis revealed that the topical content of mite and spider papers in these general-science journals differs significantly. A trou- bling leveling-off of taxonomic publications on mites also was discovered. We conclude by suggesting some strategies that acarologists and editorial boards might follow in order to raise mites to their proper status as exemplary models for ecological and evolutionary research. KEYWORDS — mite; spider; Acarology; World Wide Web; ecology; evolution; internet; key INTRODUCTION A decade ago, when we wrote our book Mites: Ecology, Evolution and Behaviour (Walter and Proc- tor, 1999), it was with the goal of revealing to stu- dents, scientists, and laypeople the wonders of the acarological world. We were spurred on both by a love of mites and by our experiences in academia, where we had repeatedly encountered otherwise well-educated colleagues who could not under- stand why we found mites so fascinating. Yet these same people often accepted work on a related taxon, spiders, as appropriate vehicles for address- ing questions in evolutionary biology and ecology. On this the 50 th anniversary of Acarologia , the first journal devoted to the study of mites, and coin- cidentally the 10 th anniversary of the publication of our book, we decided to make an assessment of how Acarology has progressed over the last 50 years. We hope that readers will find this paper in- formative, entertaining, and insightful - particularly for determining which paths Acarologia may wish to tread in the coming years....
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acarologia2 - Acarologia 50(1): 131–141 (2010) DOI:

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