Broad Mite – Polyphagotarsonemus latus

Broad Mite: Appearance, Territory, Damage, and Life Cycle

Latin Name: Polyphagotarsonemus Latus Previously known as Hemitarsonemus Latus.

Appearance: The broad mite is found in the tropics and in temperate greenhouses. The broad mite feeds on a wide variety of plants, most notably peppers, but also aubergine, tomato, and cucumber. In addition, many ornamental crops are damaged. Broad mites are not a severe concern in temperate areas because they cannot overwinter.

Tarsonemid mites (Tarsonemidae) have a wider range of feeding patterns than any other mite family. There are species that feed on fungus, algae, and plants, as well as predators and parasites of insects and mites. Those that live on plants can do significant harm to their host. Tarsonemids, such as the wide mite (Polyphagotarsonemus latus), can be found on both edible and ornamental plants.

Adult mites are really little (100 to 300 microns). These mites are closely related to cyclamen mites, Phytonemus pallidus (Banks), but may be distinguished by the lack of tubercles on cyclamen mite eggs and the form of the males’ hind legs.

Hosts Plants: The principal hosts are capsicum, chili, and tomato, although they may also be found on avocado, bean, eggplant, mango, papaya, and potato.

Territory: Asia, Africa, North, South, and Central America, the Caribbean, Europe, and Oceania are all included. Australia, Fiji, Guam, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, and the Solomon Islands have all reported it.

Damage Insect Cause: Broad mites’ prey on fruit and leaves, favoring immature fruit up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter on the inner of the canopy or on the inward-facing side of outside fruit. Feeding causes damaged tissue that breaks as the fruit grows, giving a distinctive pattern of scars and new tissue. Although wide mites mostly feed on fruit, they may also eat on newly growing leaves, causing them to curl. This leaf cupping and curling may resemble minor damage caused by glyphosate (Roundup) sprays nutritional (boron) deficits, or physiological issues.

Life History and Habits: Egg, larva, nymph, and adult are the four stages of the broad mite’s life span. Over an eight to thirteen-day period, adult females deposit 30 to 76 eggs on the undersides of leaves and in the depressions of little fruit before passing away. Male adults have a five-to-nine-day lifespan. Unmated females produce male-developed eggs, but mated females typically produce four female eggs for every male egg.

The eggs hatch in two to three days, and the larvae emerge to feed. Larvae move slowly and do not spread far. The larvae mature into a dormant larval (nymph) stage after two or three days. Males mate with females as soon as they emerge from the quiescent stage. There have also been cases of the broad mite moving from plant to plant utilizing insect hosts, notably certain whiteflies.