This interactive key provides diagnostics for all the species of spider mites (Acari: Tetranychidae) previously recorded in Australia, based mostly on literature records. Several species collected in Australia, but not yet recorded in the literature, are also included (manuscript in prep). In addition, a few select exotic species from south east Asia of concern to Australia’s biosecurity have also been included, and are indicated by ^^ after the species name. Where possible, the diagnostics (images and data) presented in this key were taken from direct examination of the type specimens. A detailed fact sheet has been provided for nearly all species treated. Australian voucher specimens have not been examined for all species treated in this key, and some records are in need of further investigation.
Note well: voucher specimens were not examined for all species treated in this key, and that several groups of species cannot be separated, but this may change with updates. For example, all the Bryobia species listed cannot be separated from each other, and the members of the Oligonychus ununguis species group are notoriously difficult to separate. When this occurs, unfortunately, the key will continue to present you with character state options, even though no further resolution is possible. In these cases, you must rely on examining the fact sheets for each of the remaining taxa. In addition, there are a few species with various taxonomic issues, for example Tetranychus lambi, where there are possibly two species represented in the type series, and as such, separating that taxon cleanly is not possible as certain character features have multiple character states present.
Note also: that the key opens with female characters only. As characters are selected, the relevant male characters will open for the user to see.
Please contact the author ([email protected]) if you have any issues with the key not working, or suggestions for improvement etc.
Development of this key has been funded under the Australian Government’s Agricultural Competitiveness and Developing Northern Australia white papers, the government’s plans for stronger farmers, a stronger economy and a safe, secure Australia.
Immense thanks go to Ronald Ochoa & Debbie Creel of USNM (Beltsville, USA) for the loan of many critical specimens (including types) and for hosting me in the USNM for several months. Further thanks go to Jeremy Carlo Naredo of MNH (Laguna, The Philippines), Alain Migeon of CBGP (Montferrier-sur-Lez, France), Jan Beccaloni of NHM (London, UK), and Peter Oboyski of Essig Museum of Entomology (Berkeley, USA) for the loan of critical specimens, including many types. I also wish to thank Owen Seeman of QM (Brisbane, Australia), Jurgen Otto of Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (Sydney, Australia), Frederic Beaulieu of CNC (Ottawa, Canada), Andrew Manners (Queensland Government Department of Agriculture and Fisheries), and Jamie Davies DPIPWE (New Town, Tasmania, Australia) for useful comments of draft versions of the key and fact sheets.
Jennifer J Beard, Queensland Museum (http://www.qm.qld.gov.au/)
v1.0 December 2018