Laelapid Mites (Acari: Laelapidae) Collected from Small Mammals in Trinidad, Trinidad and Tobago

Elisha S. Tikasingh


Mites (Acarina) are minute arthropods barely visible to the naked eye, but some belonging to the family Laelapidae are as large as some ticks and are ectoparasites of cricetid rodents. Laelapidae mites are not well studied and less than a 100 species are described. As part of a study on arboviruses (insect, tick and mite-transmitted viruses) by the Trinidad Regional Virus Laboratory (TRVL), small mammals were trapped from various localities in Trinidad and blood samples processed for virus isolations and antibody determinations in an attempt to determine their role in the maintenance of arbovirus cycles. Ectoparasites were combed from these mammals and processed for virus isolations, but some were kept for specific identifications. Over a period of 10 years in Trinidad, Aitken et al. (1969) tested 5312 Gigantolaelaps sp. and 16,207 smaller laelapid mites for virus isolations, but only one strain of a virus (Cocal) was recovered. Apart from the Aitken (1969) study, there has been no written report about laelapid mites occurring in Trinidad.

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Aitken, T. h. G., Spence, L., Jonkers, A. h. and Downs, W. G. 1969. A ten-year survey of Trinidadian arthropods for natural virus infections (1953-1963). Journal of Medical Entomology, 6: 207-215.

Furman, D. P. 1972. Laelapid mites (Laelapidae: Laelapinae) of Venezuela. Brigham Young University Science Bulletin: Biological Series, 17: 1-58.


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