Brevipalpus lewisi

Brevipalpus lewisi McGregor

Systematic position: Acari, Prostigmata, Tenuiplapidae.

Common name: citrus flat mite, citrus scab mite.

Geographic distribution: Middle East, Southern Europe, the Far East, Australia, and North America to Mexico. Distribution Maps of Plant Pests, CABI, Map #739. 2010.

Morphology: The body is oblong, red, about 0.25 mm in length. The dorsum is covered by reticulations which do not meet midway on the prodorsum. The opisthosoma bears 7 pairs of very short lateral setae and tarsus It has only one solenidion.

Host plants: Grape, citrus, pomegranate and about 50 other host plants.

Life history: This mite usually settles at the stem-end of citrus fruits, near or under the button. Green fruits are preferred over mature fruits (especially on the trees’ canopy), and both sites over twigs and leaves. The pest prefers warm and dry conditions, its populations peaking during the warmest and driest months. When reared on grapevine leaves, the mite completed a generation in about five weeks at 28°C and deposited up to 20 eggs. Very few males are known, suggesting that it mostly reproduces by parthenogenesis.

Economic importance: Injury to citrus fruit is attributed to the wounding of oil glands on the fruit peel, which release chemicals that cause the damage. The damage consists of irregular, silvery or brown, scab-like scars at the feeding sites, which are become depressed. At maturity, as fruits attain their orange color, the feeding spots may disappear, but if they persist, such fruit can be downgraded. Damage occurs on lemons, oranges and (especially) on tangerines (of which the cull might reach 25%), but not on grapefruits, despite the latter being sometimes heavily infested. Grapefruit peel has fewer glands, which could explain their relative tolerance. In Greece B. lewisi is a serious pest of citrus, causing scab-like scars on the fruits. Infestations on grapevines occur on all green parts of the plants. Overwintering females that had hidden on the bark move to the new shoots and stems from early spring, often resulting in shoot death.

In contrast to several other Brevipalpus spp., B. lewisi is not known to transmit plant viruses.


Plant resistance: Grapefruits are relatively tolerant to the mite.

Chemical Control: Little data are available about the chemical or biological management of B. lewisi in the Mediterranean Region, where it is usually a minor citrus pest.

Biological Control: Several Phytoseiidae, and a tydeid prey on B. lewisi, but their controlling effect is not clear.


Buchanan, G.A., Bengston, M. and Exley, E.M. 1980. Population growth of Brevipalpus lewisi McGregor (Acarina: Tenuipalpidae) on grapevines. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 31: 957-965.

Childers C.C., French, J.V. and Rodrigues J.C.V. 2003. Brevipalpus californicus, B. obovatus, B phoenicis and B. lewisi (Acari: Tenuipalpidae): a review of their biology, feeding injury and economic importance. Experimental and Applied Acarology 30: 5-28.

Hao, D.J. (and 6 co-authors). 2016. Morphological and genetic characteristics of Brevipalpus lewisi (Acari: Tenuipalpidae) and comparison with other three Brevipalpus species. International Journal of Acarology 42: 34-40.

Hatzinikolis, E.N. 1986. The genus Brevipalpus in Greece (Acari: Tenuipalpidae). Entomologia Hellenica 4: 37-48.

Hessein, N.A. and Perring, T.M. 1988. Homeopronematus anconai (Baker) (Acari: Tydeidae) predation on citrus flat mite, Brevipalpus lewisi McGregor (Acari: Tenuipalpidae). International Journal of Acarology 14: 89-90.

James, D.G. and Whitney, J. 1993. Mite populations on grapevines in South-eastern Australia: Implications for biological control of grapevine mites (Acarina: Tenuipalpidae: Eriophyidae). Experimental and Applied Acarology 17: 259-70.