|Crop Knowledge Master|
Tetranychus neocalidonicus (Andre)
Jayma L. Martin, Educational Specialist
Ronald F.L. Mau, Extension Entomologist
Department of Entomology
Updated by: J.M. Diez April 2007
This mite attacks over 110 different plants, including flowers, fruits, vegetable and field crops in the tropical and subtropical regions of the world. Plant hosts of the vegetable mite of economic importance include green beans, lettuce, mango, watermelon and the ornamentals, chrysanthemum and hibiscus.
A major mite pest in India, the vegetable mite has a wide distribution throughout tropical and subtropical areas including Bahamas, Fiji, Hawaii, Mauritius, Puerto Rico, South America, the southeastern region of the US mainland and Venezuela. In Hawaii, it is present on Hawaii, Maui, Molokai and Oahu.
Mites suck the plant sap from plant cells producing white spots that gradually coalesce as feeding continues. On some plants the damaged portions of leaves turn red. Excessive feeding can result in premature leaf abscission. Vegetable mites produce a webbing that may form a thick sheath that covers the entire plant.
On orange and other citrus, these mites are more common on ripe than green fruit. Yellow blotches develop on the fruit surface as a result of mite feeding.
The developmental period from egg, larva, nymph to adult of the vegetable mite ranges from 12 to 23 days, depending on temperature. Warmer temperatures accompanied by a low relative humidity favors rapid development.
Eggs are spherical and translucent when first laid, gradually turning brown. The eggs are randomly laid in the webbing on the lower surface of the leaves. A common egg laying site is along the leaf midvein. Eggs hatch in 3 to 9 days.
The first stage is sometimes called a larval stage. These mites are yellow to brown after hatching, turning greenish with dark specks along its sides. Larval duration is 3 to 5 days.
The vegetable mite has two nymphal stages in development. The first stage, called the protonymph, lasts for 2 to 5 days, the second stage, the deutonymph, lasts for 3 to 4 days. Both nymphal stages are green with dark specks on their back differing by size.
Adult vegetable mites are red to purplish red in color. Females live for 19 days based on studies conducted in Egypt (Soliman, et al, 1973). Males live for 14 days. Jeppson et al. (1975) report the female life span to averages 32 days (range 8 - 46 days). Females lay six eggs per day for 17 days.
Natural enemies of this mite include predatory mites, lady beetles, and thrips. The beetle, Stethorus siphonulus, feeds exclusively on mites and is usually effective on crops that have smooth leaves on their undersides.
Mites are easily controlled by natural enemies. If pesticides are needed, there are a few miticides that can provide control. Wettable sulfur and fenbutatin-oxide are two common miticides.
Goff, M. Lee. 1986. Spider Mites (Acari: Tetranychidae) in the Hawaiian Islands. International J. Acarology. 12(1): 43-49.
Jeppson, L. R., H.H. Keifer and E. W. Baker. 1975. Mites Injurious to Economic Plants. University of California Press. Berkeley, Los Angeles, London. 614 pages.
Sidhu, A. S. and G. Singh. 1971. Chemical Control of the Red Vegetable Mite, Tetranychus cucurbitae Rahman and Sapra, on Brinjal. Punjab Hortic. J. 11(1/2): 95-97.
Sidhu, A. S. and G. Singh. 1972. Laboratory Studies on the Host-Range of the Vegetable Mite, Tetranychus cucurbitae Rahman & Sapra. Punjab Agr. Univ. J. Res. 9(2): 313-315.
Soliman, A. A., H. H. Attiah and M. L. Wahba. 1973. Preliminary Biological Studies in Tetranychus neocalidonicus Marc Andre. pp. 251-254. In International Congress of Acarology, 3d, Prague, 1971 Proceedings.