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Eukaryotic ectosymbionts of Acari

By M. Alejandra Perotti and Henk R. Braig


The Acari is the most numerous and diverse group of the subphylum Chelicerata. With approximately 55 000 described species (and estimates of up to 1 million extant species), their adaptations for parasitism, phytophagy, mycophagy, saprophagy and predation rival other arthropods and challenge us with a wide variety of biological interactions. While a few studies have unravelled the nature of some endosymbiotic associations between mites or ticks and prokaryotes, almost nothing has been done yet regarding acarine eukaryotic ectosymbionts. Microbial ectosymbionts can benefit their hosts by providing nutrients, by aiding digestion, by enhancing communication, by assisting in mating and/or fertilization, by protecting their host against pathogenic microorganisms, against predation and so on. In this sketch, we introduce a number of described cases of fungal and protist ectosymbionts and discuss the role they might play in the life of their acarine hosts

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.1111/j.1439-0418.2011.01639.x
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