Fig. 342 Hindleg of male Steneotarsonemus: (a) bulb scale mite, S. laticeps; (b) oat spiral mite, S. spirifex.

(Plate 16f); the mites also cause reddening of tissue, and severely infested plants may be stunted. Most damage is caused in dry seasons. The mites also attack a wide range of grasses but, unlike several closely related grass-feeding mites (including grass & cereal mite, Siteroptes graminum, p. 264), not cocksfoot. Colonies develop within the upper section of leaf sheaths during the spring and summer, and their presence is usually noticeable from June onwards. Adult females are elongate (0.25 x 0.13 mm), pale brown and translucent, with thin hindlegs. Males are stouter-bodied, with robust hindlegs, and their hind femora are distinctively flanged (Fig. 342b). There are several generations in a season.

but then increasing in the following spring with the onset of warmer weather. Damage in the field is likely to be seen only if the winter has been unusually mild. As the bulbs develop, infestations sometimes spread upwards onto the emerged leaves and flower stalks, but conditions on exposed tissue are generally unfavourable for mite development.


Adult female 0.2 mm long, pale brown and translucent; hindlegs thin and each bearing a terminal, whip-like seta; gnathosoma broader than long, cf. cyclamen mite, Phytonemuspallidus (p. 260). Adult male similar in appearance to female but smaller; hindlegs robust, unflanged and each with a strong claw (Fig. 342a). Egg relatively large, oval, whitish and translucent. Larva whitish and 6-legged.

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