We are pleased to announce a new article on Featured Creatures!
Take a sneak peek with this excerpt from the article: Hemicheyletia wellsina (De Leon) (Figure 1) is a predatory mite in the family Cheyletidae. The life history of species in this family is very diverse. About 75% of cheyletid mites are predators of other arthropods and the rest are parasitic on birds and mammals (Bochkov and O’Connor 2004, Krantz and Walter 2009). Hemicheyletia wellsina was recently discovered in an unsprayed greenhouse at the University of Florida, Gainesville, living on Phalaenopsis and Dendrobium orchids, and assumed to be feeding on orchid pests such as spider mites, tenuipalpid mites, and mealybugs that were present on the orchids. Because there was no published information on the biology of effectiveness of this species as a natural enemy of orchid pests, colonies were initiated in the Entomology and Nematology department at the University of Florida to study the biology of Hemicheyletia wellsina. A better understanding of this predator’s biology could have implications for hobbyist orchid growers. Colonies of Hemicheyletia wellsina were maintained on two-spotted spider mite Tetranychus urticae (Koch) prey. This predator fed on all active stages but did not feed on eggs.
Figure 1. Adult female Hemicheyletia wellsina (De Leon) in the lower right corner of the photo near a clutch of her eggs in the upper left. The eggs are covered with silk produced by the female. Photograph by Haleigh Ray.