An updated distribution and hosts: trombiculid mites (Acari: Trombidiformes) associated with small mammals in Yunnan Province, southwest China
Parasitology research | 3 Feb 2016
PY Peng, XG Guo, TG Ren, WG Dong and WY Song
Trombiculid mites (or chigger mites) are a large group of arthropods, and some of these species are vectors of Orientia tsutsugamushi, the causative agent of tsutsugamushi disease (scrub typhus). Yunnan Province is situated in the southwest of China, and its complicated topography, special altitude gradients, and high biodiversity have aroused the interest of many scientists to study the fauna and species diversity of plants and animals. To replenish our former faunal study, this paper listed all the scientific names of trombiculid mites in Yunnan Province, together with their hosts and collection sites (geographical distribution). A total of 120,138 individuals of trombiculid mites were collected from the body surface of 13,760 small mammal hosts (89.06 % of them are rodents) in 29 collection sites (counties) of Yunnan Province from 2001 to 2013. The 120,138 mites were identified as comprising 2 families (Trombiculidae and Leeuwenhoekiidae), 26 genera, and 274 species. The genus Leptotrombidium had the most abundant species (109 species) of 26 genera. Of the six main vectors of scrub typhus in China, five of them were found in Yunnan. Of the 274 chigger mite species, 23 were determined as the newly recorded species (new records), which were found in Yunnan Province for the first time. The identified 274 species of trombiculid mites in the present paper are much more than those from other provinces in China and even largely exceeded the species of trombiculid mites recorded from some other regions and countries in the world. Based on the formula of Chao 1, the total number of chigger mite species in Yunnan was approximately estimated to be 346 species, and about 72 species might have been missed in our sampling process.
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