Algophagus mites (Astigmata: Algophagidae) from the sub-Antarctic Prince Edward Islands: habitat-related morphology and taxonomic descriptions
Five populations of habitat-specific, morphologically distinct Algophagus mites (Astigmata: Algophagidae) were found to occur on the sub-Antarctic Prince Edward islands. Although these mites did not differ among themselves with respect to idiosomal setal characteristics, which were also similar to those of known sub-Antarctic Algophagus taxa, morphometric analyses revealed leg and idiosomal size differences. In addition to morphometric differences, leg setal positions and porose axillary organ structure, indicated that the morphotypes were taxonomically discrete. The taxa were found to include the known A. antarcticus Hughes, 1955, A. laticollaris Fain, 1974 (new status), a sub-species of A. semicollaris Fain, 1974, and two new species, A. brachytarsus sp. nov. and A. macrolithus sp. nov. With the exception of A. semicollaris, the taxa are described or redescribed in this paper. Morphological features of the females in particular, and notably leg proportions, claw dimensions, and apodeme positions, corroborate discrete terrestrial (A. brachytarsus and A. macrolithus) and aquatic forms (A. antarcticus, A. laticollaris, and A. semicollaris), and vary in a manner suggesting a functional relationship to habitat occupation by the various taxa.
Authors: Marshall, David J., O'Connor, Barry M., Pugh, Philip J.A.