Taxonomic placing: Acari, Acariformes.

Common name: None.

Morphology: Despite many exceptions, the majority of the Prostigmata can be recognized by bearing anteriorly-situated stigmata (hence the name of the suborder) and associated peritremes. Most Prostigmata have piercing, stylettiform chelicerae and developed palpi, at times with strong, spine-like setae. Their bodies are usually soft, weakly-sclerotized, and often covered by shields ornamented by striae and reticulations, and may be red, green or yellow. One or two pairs of eyes are often present. Body size ranges from 0.1-0.2 mm (Eriophyoidea, the rust and gall mites) to 10.00 mm (Parasitengona, which are parasitic and predatory mites). The legs (especially the anterior pair) often carry modified sensory setae, whose number, shape and site may differ between males and females. Morphological exceptions include the Eriophyoidea, with annulate, worm-like bodies that are devoid of stigmata, and the Heterostigmata, where only the adult females have stigmata. The Prostigmata is one of the three suborders in the acarine order Acariformes.

Economic importance: All acarine plant pests in the Middle East belong to the Prostigmata, including the Eriophyoidea, Tetranychidae, Tenuipalpidae and Tarsonemidae. Members of the families Bdellidae, Cheyletidae, Stigmaeidae and Tydeidae, and even a few phytophagous species, are being used in the biological control of weeds.

Life history: The great diversity in the suborder is also seen in its variable life histories. The terrestrial groups include plant-feeders (the pests), predators (e.g. Stigmaeidae, Cheyletidae), ectoparasites on vertebrates (Trombidiidae) and invertebrates (Acarophenacidae, Pyemotidae) as well as omnivores (Tydeidae), whereas the aquatic taxa (Hydrachnidia) are parasitic as larvae and predatory as nymphs and adults. Most species are arrhenotokous and have five stages, namely eggs, larvae, protonymphs, deutonymphs and adults. In many parasites, however, and in most Heterostigmata, the nymphal instars are suppressed and the cycle is foreshortened. Some of the latter, such as the Acarophenacidae and Pyemotidae, have only a single active stage, the adults, all development taking place within the female’s body.


Hughes, A.M. 1976. The Mites of Stored Food and Houses. Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, London.

Gerson, U., Smiley, R.L. and Ochoa, R. 2003. _Mites (Acari) in Biological Control. _ Blackwell Science.

Krantz, G.W. and Walter, D.E. (eds.) 2009. A Manual of Acarology, 3rd Ed. Texas Tech University Press, Lubbock, Texas.

Websites: < https://www.google.co.il/search?q=prostigmata&biw=1280&bih=687&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0CCcQsARqFQoTCKKiicnsjMkCFYRWGgodJ10NVw >