Taxonomic survey of soil dwelling predatory mites as potential candidates for the biological control of soil borne parasitic arthropod pests and nematodes

Predatory mites, especially of the family Phytoseiidae are widely used for the control of above-ground pests. In contrast, there is very limited information on the ecology of acarine predators found in soils and their respective potential for the biological control of soil pests. While a range of soil-inhabiting predatory mites have been described in taxonomic publications from abroad, only few studies were conducted in Israel. Now as chemical soil sterilization methods are being phased out, new soil biocontrol agents are being sought. The objective of this survey will be to study the taxonomy of soil- dwelling predatory mites in order to lay the foundations for future biology and ecology studies of potential biocontrol agents. Specifically we are interested in species belonging to the families Anystidae, Bdellidae, Cunaxidae and Stigmaeidae, in the suborder Prostigmata and to the families Ascidae, Blattisociidae, Laelapidae, Macrochelidae, Melicharidae, Parasitidae and Veigaiidae, in the suborder Mesostigmata. Specimens as slide preparations and in ethanol 70% will be deposited at the Tel Aviv University of Natural History. For the Israeli fauna, pictorial keys to the species level will be prepared for families of agricultural importance, using line drawings, SEM and DIC imaging.

Predatory mites, especially of the family Phytoseiidae are widely used for the control of above-ground pests. In contrast, there is very limited information on the ecology of acarine predators found in soils and their respective potential for the biological control of soil pests. While a range of soil-inhabiting predatory mites have been described in taxonomic publications from abroad, only few studies were conducted in Israel. Now as chemical soil sterilization methods are being phased out, new soil biocontrol agents are being sought. The objective of this survey will be to study the taxonomy of soil- dwelling predatory mites in order to lay the foundations for future biology and ecology studies of potential biocontrol agents. Specifically we are interested in species belonging to the families Anystidae, Bdellidae, Cunaxidae and Stigmaeidae, in the suborder Prostigmata and to the families Ascidae, Blattisociidae, Laelapidae, Macrochelidae, Melicharidae, Parasitidae and Veigaiidae, in the suborder Mesostigmata. Specimens as slide preparations and in ethanol 70% will be deposited at the Tel Aviv University of Natural History. For the Israeli fauna, pictorial keys to the species level will be prepared for families of agricultural importance, using line drawings, SEM and DIC imaging.

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