Phytonemus pallidus

Cyclamen mite


The cyclamen mite (Phytonemus pallidus) is a harmful strawberry pest as well as a common pest found in cyclamen, gerbera and other ornamentals.

Mites belonging to the family of tarsonemids (Tarsonemidae) display a greater diversity of feeding habits than any other mite family. There are species that feed on fungi, algae, plants, as well as insect and mite predators and parasites. Those living on plants can cause considerable damage to their host.

Tarsonemids like the cyclamen mite (Phytonemus pallidus) can occur both on vegetable and ornamental crops.

Life cycle and appearance of Cyclamen mite

The life cycle of the cyclamen mite (Phytonemus pallidus) has the following stages: egg, larva, and adult. However, pharate females remain in their larval skin until they emerge. This stage is often considered a fourth stage called pupa, false pupa or quiescent nymph.

Adult females are yellowish brown, about 0.25 mm long, with the hind legs reduced to slender threadlike structures that are not used for walking. The males are smaller than the females and their hind legs are modified and used to transport pharate females.

Eggs of the cyclamen mite are about half the size of the adult mite. They are oval in form, smooth, transparent and twice as long as they are wide. Both ends are equally rounded. The larvae are opaque white and have only three pairs of legs. They develop into the resting stage (pharate nymph). This is a transitional stage between larva and adult mite during which the mite remains immobile on the leaf surface and does not feed.