Internal Features

Apart from bearing the pedipalps and the mouthparts, the gnathosoma is little more than a tube through which the foregut passes into the idiosoma. It does not contain a brain, the nervous system of a mite being located within the propodosoma and, typically, forming a ring of nervous tissue (the central nerve mass) around the pharynx. The alimentary canal includes a pharynx, an elongated oesophagus, a mid-gut (ventriculus) and a hindgut, the anterior part of which may include several Malpighian-like tubules.

pedipalp chelicera gnathosoma propodosoma idiosoma <j

^ hysterosoma

Fig. 166 General structure of a mite.

pedipalp chelicera propodosoma

^ hysterosoma

gnathosoma sejugal furrow sejugal furrow

The respiratory system varies considerably. Mites with a tracheal system have spiracular openings (stigmata) whose number and position on the body may vary from order to order. Mites that lack a tracheal system effect gaseous exchange thorough their integument.

The reproductive organs are located mid-ventrally within the idiosoma, their exact position varying considerably. In some mites they lie close to the tip of the hysterosoma (i.e. they occur distally); in others they may occur immediately just behind the gnathosoma at the anterior part of the propodosoma (i.e. they occur proxi-mally). In eriophyid mites, they are located at the anterior part of the hysterosoma, just behind the coxae and, in females, are concealed by a distinctive flap (genital flap), the features of which (microscopically) are often of taxonomic value.

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