Tetranychus urticae

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two Tetranychus urticae females with one egg (click on image to enlarge it)
Author(s): Gilles San Martin (UCL, Belgium)
Source: Ecology and Evolution, 2016, 6 (18) p. 6557

Tetranychus urticae Koch, 1836 - (two-spotted spider mite)

This is the most common spider mite pest in many parts of the world . It attacks a large variety of field and greenhouse crops, like tomatoes, maize, hop, cotton, vegetables and fruit trees. The damage is done by the mites piercing the cells of the leaves and feeding on their content. This causes scarring, bronzing and premature drop of the leaves. On citrus, the mite also causes a characteristic fruit scarring which results in downgraded quality.

The life cycle from egg through the larval, protonymph and deutonymph stages to the mature adults takes as little as 2 weeks under favourable conditions. There may be up to 10 generations per year in a greenhouse environment. For dispersal, immatures can form silk-balls containing thousands of mites which are transported by wind to other plants.

Vernacular names
• Deutsch: Gemeine Spinnmilbe
Bohnenspinnmilbe
• English: two-spotted spider mite
glasshouse red spider mite
hop red spider mite
two-spotted red spider mite
• Español: araña roja
arañita roja de dos manchas
ácaro rojo
• Français: tétranyque tisserand
acarien à deux points
tétranyque à deux points
acarien jaune
• Português: ácaro-rajado

While acaricides have been widely used against the spider mite. This has led to problems like pesticide resistance or pest resurgence. Biological control with suitable predators is the most effective management strategy and has largely replaced acaricides in greenhouses. Various predatory mites, like Phytoseiulus persimilis are commercially available and are very suitable for controlling the spider mites.

The adults are about ½ mm long. Females are yellowish-green with 2 large, dark dorsal spots. Red females develop as a resting stage during the winter. Males are yellowish-green with numerous small spots and slightly smaller than the females. In the absence of males, females can reproduce asexually, producing only male offspring.

Synonyms:
Epitetranychus althaeae
Tetranychus althaeae
Tetranychus telarius

For details see the respective page in BugwoodWiki.