Cuticular hydrocarbon profiles of representatives of different groups of oribatid mites (Mixonomata: Steganacarus carinatus, Collohmannia gigantea; Desmonomata: Hermannia gibba; Brachypylida: Zetorchestes falzonii) were investigated by gas chromatography — mass spectrometry. In general, cuticular extracts showed a series of straight chain alkanes being arranged in two (or three, respectively) distinctly different patterns: 1) a pattern with a gaussian quantitative distribution of alkanes from C23 to C36 was noticed in extracts of C. gigantea and H. gibba, with C29 – C32 being most abundant. 2) A pattern exhibiting a saw-tooth-like quantitative distribution of alkanes — with only odd-numberd alkanes being abundant — appeared to be characteristic for S. carinatus. 3) Extracts of Z. falzonii showed no hydrocarbons. The hydrocarbons are considered to origin in a lipid layer which is covering the cuticle: this layer is regarded to represent the inner — and in some cases the only — layer of the oribatid cerotegument. The differences in cuticular hydrocarbon profiles among oribatid species may represent a promising point of attachment for further chemosystematic studies.
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