Attachment sites of larvae of Allothrombium pulvinum Ewing (Acari: Trombidiidae) on aphid hosts, Liosomaphis berberidis (Kaltenbach), Macrosiphum rosae L., Myzus persicae (Sulzer), Periphyllus testudinaceus (Fernie) and Drepanosiphum platanoidis (Schrank), were studied in the laboratory. Mites often came into contact with their host's by legs (or antennae) and climbed onto the body of the host via them. The host often shook its body and legs in defence, but the mites were often able to cling onto the host using the claws and claw-like empodia of their legs. They then searched on the surface of the host for an attachment site. Once attached, they usually did not move unless disturbed. The frequencies of attachment on the dorsal, lateral or ventral surfaces were similar on the head, thorax and abdomen of the five aphid species tested. On most host species, the thorax was the most preferred body segment (frequency of attachment 58–68 %) and the head was the least preferred site (frequency of attachment <5 %); an exception was D. platanoidis, on which the thorax and abdomen were equally preferred by mites. Frequencies of mite attachment were similar for the dorsal, lateral or ventral surfaces of the body on P. testudinaceus and D. platanoidis. On L. berberidis and Macrosiphum rosae, the ventral surface was most preferred (frequency of attachment 49–54%), whereas the dorsal and lateral surfaces were equally preferred (frequency of attachment 22–27%). The frequency of attachment for Myzus persicae, however, was highest on the ventral surface (45%) and lowest on the lateral surface (19%). The results of this study are discussed in light of a previous hypothesis on the behaviour underlying patterns of mite attachment on aphid hosts.
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Vol. 2 • No. 1