Brevipalpus obovatus

Brevipalpus obovatus Donnadieu

Taxonomic placing: Acari, Prostigmata, Tetranychoidea, Tenuipalpidae.

Common name: Privet mite, ornamental flat mite.

Geographical distribution: Almost cosmopolitan.

Morphology: The body is oblong, red, about 0.25-0.30 mm in length. The entire dorsum is covered by irregular striae The opisthosoma bears 6 pairs of very short lateral setae and tarsus II bears only a single solenidion.

Host plants: This mite has been collected from over 450 host plants, but the recent discovery of several cryptic species that masquerade under the specific name obovatus suggests that the host list, and the biological as well as morphological data, should be amended.

Life history: This cosmopolitan mite can raise a generation in about 3-4 weeks at 25°C and live for 5 weeks on citrus, producing 30-50 eggs. In the Middle East the pest raises 10-12 annual generations, its numbers increasing in late winter, peaking in spring, declining during summer and then rising again. They prefer hidden sites on the fruits, oranges over mandarins and mature to young leaves.

Economic importance: Attacked sites on citrus leaves and on fruits become brown and rusty, resulting in leaf drop. Usually B. obovatus is only of minor economic importance, thus seldom requiring control measures. In South America it is suspected of transmitting the ringspot virus of Ligustrum, but that disease is not known from the Mediterranean region.


Chemical control: Avermectins and white oils usually reduce pest populations on citrus. Mite outbreaks on lemons were observed in Egypt after applications of organophosphates.

Biological control: The predators Agistemus exsertus and Cheletogenes ornatus greatly reduced pest numbers on citrus trees in Egypt, unless disrupted by acaricides.


Beard, J.J. (and 6 co-authors). 2012. Flat Mites of the World. Edition 2. Identification Technology Program, CPHST, PPQ, APHIS, USDA; Fort Collins, CO.

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.

Rezk, A. 2001. The false spider mite, Brevipalpus obovatus Donnadieu (Acari: Tenuipalpidae): host-related biology, seasonal abundance and control. In Halliday, R.B., Walter, D.E., Proctor, H.C., Norton, R.A. and Colloff, M.J. (eds.) Acarology: Proceedings of the 10th international Congress, pp 291-294. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne.

Rezk, H.A. and Gadelhak, G.G. 1996. Relationship between phytophagous and predatory mites in citrus orchards and the effect of acaricides on their populations. Alexandria Journal of Agricultural Research 41: 217-24.

Vacante V. and Gerson, U. (eds) 2011. Integrated Control of Citrus Pests in the Mediterranean Region. Bentham E-book, Science Publishers.