Several mite species have been recorded on pineapple worldwide. Because of this, some mites have more than one common name and some names have been applied to more than one mite species. To reduce the confusion in the discussion below, the various common names applied to each mite species have been provided.
The pineapple red mite (also known as red spider or false spider mite), Dolicho-tetranychus (= Stigmacus) floridanus (Banks) (Acarina: Tenuipalpidae), is the largest mite found on pineapple and is conspicuous en masse because of its bright orange to red colour (Fig. 9.10). According to Jeppson et al.
(1975), it only occurs on pineapple and is found in Florida, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Panama, Honduras, Mexico, Central America, Hawaii, the Philippine Islands, Japan, Okinawa and Java. The adult mite is approximately 0.3-0.4 mm long and 0.1 mm wide. When present on the plant, the mite is always found on the white basal portion of the leaves, where it feeds, particularly on the crown. When pineapple red-mite populations build up under dry conditions, the mites are most commonly on the basal leaves of the crown and on stored seed material (Petty, 1975, 1978c).
The blister mite (also called pineapple fruit mite), Phyllocoptruta (= Vasates) saki-murae Kiefer (Acarina: Eriophyidae), is reportedly the smallest mite (0.1 mm long and 0.033 mm wide) found on pineapple in Hawaii (Carter, 1967). Individuals are chalky in colour and only have two pairs of legs located near the head. They may be found on detached crowns that are stored for planting. They originate from prior infestations on the ripe fruit from which the crowns were derived. They normally disappear after the crowns are planted, but may be found later on fruit after the flat-eye stage of fruit development (Carter, 1967). Jeppson et al. (1975)
suggest that the mite originated in South America.
The pineapple mite, Schizotetranychus asparagi (Oudemans) (Acarina: Tetra-nychidae), is widely distributed and has been recorded in Hawaii, continental USA, Germany, Portugal, The Netherlands and Puerto Rico (Jeppson et al., 1975). In colder climates, it may be found on asparagus ferns grown in greenhouses or lathhouses. In pineapple-production areas, it may frequently cause severe damage to recently established plants in the field. Plants that are infested in the early stages remain small and fruit production is either curtailed or non-existent. Heavily infested plants may die before producing fruit. The best management action is to plant only mite-free seed-plant material (Jeppson et al., 1975).
The pineapple tarsonemid mite (also known as pineapple mite, pineapple fruit mite, pineapple false spider mite), Steneotarsonemus ananas (Tryon) (Acarina: Tarsonemidae), may be found infesting pineapple later in the plant's phenological cycle (see discussion below) (Fig. 9.11).
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