Mites  from  Procellaria burrows of the Antipodes Islands

John Clark *1, David Hawke 1

1 Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology Box 540, Christchurch, New Zealand

The mite fauna of Antipodes Island is poorly known. However, the seabird burrow soil there supports a diverse mite fauna. Burrow soil samples taken at arm’s length from five grey petrel and five white-chinned petrels were extracted with a Tullgren funnel.  Holothyrids were absent; ticks were represented by Ixodes uriae and I. auritulus; mesostigmata by Ayersacarus, Davacarus, Leptolaelaps and a new genus close to Leptolaelaps and  Austrocheles; and two species of uropodid. The most common mite was a small oribatid; at least three other non-ptychoid oribatid and a large pthiracaroid species were present. Parasitengonids were absent; with prostigmata represented by a stigmaeid. Astigmata were represented by a new genus of terrestrial Algophagidae. It bears a regressed axillary organ, the epigynum is fused to coxal apodeme II and it probably feeds in soil interstitia.  This taxonomic work is essential to permit the study of the nutrient flow at the marine/terrestrial interface using stable isotopes.

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