Penthaleus major Duges Redlegged earth mite

This mite is associated mainly with cereals and grasses but will also attack other plants, including vegetable crops. They cause a general silvering of infested foliage and, sometimes, withering of leaf tips. Damage, which may result in patches of poor growth, is most evident during the winter months. Development of the mites is favoured by cool conditions, and the life-cycle includes a period of extended summer aestivation in the egg stage. All stages of the mite occur during the autumn and winter; unlike summer eggs, winter eggs hatch in a few weeks. There are two generations annually. The mites (up to 1 mm long) are globular but pointed posteriorly and vary in colour from pale green to red or brownish, with either green or red legs; characteristically, the anus occurs on the dorsal surface of the hysterosoma. Although a well-known pest in Australia and North America, damage to crops in Europe is less often reported. The name 'red-legged earth mite' is also associated with a related species: Halotydeus destructor (Tucker), an economically more important but non-European pest.

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