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Taxonomic studies of the Laelapidae mites (Acari: Mesostigmata)


Predatory mites of the family Laelapidae are promising biological control agents of soil pests, with great potential for practical use. Three species of this family are now used commercially for pest control. Two ongoing projects, at UNESP Jaboticabal and ESALQ-USP, respectively, refer to the taxonomy of these mites (FAPESP 2010/19171-1 and CNPq 302406/2009-3). Two of the main objectives of these projects relate to the development of publications that summarize knowledge about the taxonomy of this family, including the preparation of a catalog, and the identification of species collected in Brazil. Prof. Hans Klompen, of the Laboratory of Acarology of Ohio State University, is internationally known for his work related to the taxonomy of Mesostigmata, the group which owns the family Laelapidae. We have had frequent exchanges with professor Klompen in the past 14 years in the conduction of research related to this topic. Specifically through the development of the thesis work of Grazielle Furtado Moreira (FAPESP proj. 2010/19171-1), we are finalizing the preparation of a catalog about the taxonomy of the subfamilies Hypoaspidinae and Melittiphinae, Laelapidae. We are also identifying species of this family deposited at ESALQ Mite Collection. Upon our inquiry, the Prof. Klompen agreed to travel to Brazil for a period of 15 days, to collaborate with us in finalizing those research activities. With this proposed project, we would like him to collaborate with us in the careful review of generic placement of each species, deciding on new combinations and taxonomic synonyms to be proposed in the catalog, in the preparation of the diagnoses of the nearly 30 genera treated in it, and in final identification of the specimens available for study. The collaboration of the visiting scientist will enable a rapid conclusion of those activities and the submission of the respective manuscripts to journals of high impact. Besides these activities, Prof. Klompen also agreed to present two seminars to graduate students of UNESP Jaboticabal and ESALQ. (AU)

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