Common Name: False Spider Mite
Scientific Name: Brevipalpus phoenicis
Species: B. phoenicis
What is the cause of thousands of crops being destroyed every year and hundreds of people becoming sick? The false spider mite is a mini parasite with eight legs that lives in the tropics. The false spider mite is not bug that should be taken lightly.
The false spider mite has many unusual features. Adults are usually 0.011in. long and 0.0059in .wide. They are dark- green and red-orange. They are oval shaped and have eight legs. They have two sensors at the end of each leg which is what makes them a separate species. The false spider mite has the perfect body to sneak in and destroy crops.
The false spider mite is a constantly growing problem. They can infest about 65 different organisms, which makes them very devastating for many farmers. They live in tropical places like Australia, Brazil and Malaya. Farmers used sulfur to control them for a long time, but stopped when they found out the sulfur harmed other useful insects. You may not see them, but there are more of them then you think.
The false spider mite is a hungry little pest. They like to eat plants like papaya and citrus. They inject poisonous venom into the plant to soften it, which causes brown spots. There are some animals that eat false spider mites, like mice and spiders. The false spider mite is low on the food chain but its’ effect on crops can be massive and devastating.
The false spider mite is a tiny terror to crops and won’t stop until destroyed. I thought it was interesting that it used venom to soften its food like a real spider. I think this insect is a force to be reckoned with.
Author: Diego M
University of Michigan animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Brevipalpus_phoenicis/classification/
1-9-12 Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brevipalpus_phoenicis
Encyclopedia Britannica Volume 15 William Benton, Publisher Copyright 1972