The concept of genus within the family Phytoseiidae (Acari: Parasitiformes): historical review and phylogenetic analyses of the genus Neoseiulus Hughes

Haralabos Tsolakis, Serge Kreiter, Marie Stephane Tixier

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23 Citations (Scopus)


Systematic studies on the family Phytoseiidae were first conducted at the beginning of the 20th century butincreased greatly after the Second World War. Various classifications have been proposed based on differentcharacters such as: dorsal, ventral, and leg chaetotaxy; the shape of ventrianal and sternal shields; the shape ofthe insemination apparatus (spermatheca) and spermatodactylus; the number of teeth on the movable digit ofchelicera; and dorsal and ventral adenotaxy. The genus concepts developed over the last five decades can be dividedinto two main categories or hypotheses. The first, supported mainly by Chant and McMurtry, focuses on dorsal andventral chaetotaxy, and the genera so defined usually include a great number of species. The second category,proposed by Athias-Henriot, considers the shape of the insemination apparatus as the key character, and thegenera so defined usually include a limited number of species. From a diagnostic point of view, both classificationshave a valid structure, but the question investigated herein was: which of the two classifications or hypotheses fitsphylogenetic evolution? To answer this, we conducted molecular phylogenetic analyses (using the genes ITS and12S rRNA) on the genus Neoseiulus, which has been subjected to classification based on the two main genusconcepts. The results showed that the first hypothesis (Chant and McMurtry) leads to polyphyly of the genusNeoseiulus, while the second (Athias-Henriot) leads to paraphyly of the genus. The results show that acarologistswho first decided that the insemination apparatus was of evolutive importance could be correct as the shape of theinsemination apparatus seems to better fit evolutive clades than dorsal and ventral chaetotaxy. The morphologyof this organ, however, must be more accurately studied to better define homologies. The present paper investigatesthe two main hypotheses proposed until now for classification of Phytoseiidae and thereby opens the way forimproved classification.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)253-273
Number of pages21
JournalZoological Journal of the Linnean Society
Publication statusPublished - 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology

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