Large mites on wild mushrooms in Britain

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Fungivorous mites and other acari associated with mushroom colonies are known since the beginning of acarology. Most of them are tiny and difficult or impossible to see with the naked eye. Most are myceliophagous mites (Behan & Hill, 1978; Renker et al., 2005; Werner et al., 2018). Large mites visible unaided on the stems, caps, or gills of the fleshy fruiting bodies of life wild mushrooms have been widely observed by naturalists but have rarely been documented in the acarological literature.
The mite fauna of living macrofungi may, in parts, be different from that of dead or decaying fungi (Hågvar & Steen, 2013; Gdula et al., 2021b; Gdula et al., 2022). We expect some overlap with oribatid mites from soil, especially stressed soil. A few studies explored the diversity of mites on particular groups of fungi (Gwiazdowicz & Lakomy, 2002; Makarova, 2004; Okabe, 2013; Faraji et al., 2021; Lunde et al., 2022). Some mite species have adapted to the fruiting bodies of bracket fungi (Basidiomyceta, Polyporales). For example, members of several mesostigmatid genera like Hoploseius, Mycolaelaps, Fungiseius and Discoseius (Ascidae/Blattisociidae) are found exclusively on or in the fungi.
Field surveys of various habitat classes (mixed broadleaf, coniferous mixed, hedgerow, mixed woodland, scrub, and pasture) in England and Wales yielded 218 mites, collected from the fruiting body of macrofungi belonging to the Ascomyceta (sac fungi) and Basidiomyceta (mushrooms and allies) (n = 67, comprising 15 orders, 20 families, and 32 species).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-186
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2022
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