Tenuipalpus Donnadieu is the largest genus in the flat mite family (Acari: Prostigmata: Tenuipalpidae), with over 300 described species. Recently, this genus was divided into two groups: sensu stricto and sensu lato. The monophyletic group, sensu stricto, is supported by the presence of a pair of lateral projections associated with dorsal setae c3. The definition of this group allowed a better understanding of the systematics within this new generic grouping, but its relationships with other related genera are still not well understood. Thus, it is necessary to investigate the phylogeny of Tenuipalpus sensu stricto with respect to related genera. The Arachnology Laboratory, Queensland Museum, Queensland, Australia, is one of most regarded places for the study of Acarology. A substantial collection of flat mites and type specimens of diverse native Australian genera are deposited in this collection, making it a preferred spot for the study of this family. Also Dr. Seeman, head of QM Arachnida Collection, and Dr. Jennifer Beard, current QM researcher, are known worldwide as specialists on tenuipalpids with several publications on many genera in this group. Thus, the main objective of this proposal is to study the Tenuipalpidae deposited in the QM Arachnida Collection. We intend to analyze morphological characters through microscopy techniques available at QM. After detailed morphological analyses, we expect to add more information to the character matrix in order to reach a more robust phylogenetic hypothesis about Tenuipalpus s.s and s.l. and their related genera.
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