Navigation Links
Worm-like mite species discovered on Ohio State's campus
Date:2/28/2014

COLUMBUS, Ohio It looks like a worm and moves like a worm sort of. But it is a previously unidentified microscopic species of mite that was discovered by a graduate student on The Ohio State University campus.

Affectionately dubbed the "Buckeye Dragon Mite" by Ohio State's Acarology Laboratory, the mite is officially named Osperalycus tenerphagus, Latin for "mouth purse" and "tender feeding," in a nod to its complex and highly unusual oral structure.

This mite doesn't resemble a mythological winged dragon, but the snake-like Chinese dancing dragons that appear in festivities celebrating each new year. What it does not resemble is a typical mite characterized by a large round body and tough external surface. And at 600 microns, or just over half a millimeter, the adult mite cannot be seen by the naked human eye.

"It is incredibly intricate despite being the same size as some single-cell organisms," said Samuel Bolton, the doctoral student in evolution, ecology and organismal biology at Ohio State who discovered this species. "That's the fascinating thing about mites and arthropods mites have taken the same primitive and complex form and structure that they've inherited and shrunken everything down. So we're dealing with complexity at an incredibly small scale."

Bolton's description of Osperalycus tenerphagus is published online in the Journal of Natural History. It is the fifth species from this worm-like family, called Nematalycidae, to be described, and only the second from North America.

An early look at mites collected from silty clay loam soil across the street from the acarology lab suggested Bolton had found a new species. Under a compound microscope, Bolton could see that the mites he collected from a soil depth of about 20 inches had numerous straight hairs all along their bodies technically known as setae that didn't match the hair-like patterns on other members of this family. The hairs help these mites feel their way around.

Nematalycidae are more closely linked to sandy soils, so Bolton was surprised to find the species in a clay-like patch of earth and he thinks digging 50 centimeters down was key to locating the mysterious creatures.

He couldn't learn all the details of his campus find until a year later, when he was able to examine the discovery in a low-temperature scanning electron microscope (LT-SEM) run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Maryland.

Under the LT-SEM, Bolton obtained high-resolution images of these tiny creatures and marvelled at the machinery of their mouths. Structures called rutella, which typically function in a similar way to teeth in other mites, instead support a pouch-like vessel in the front of the mouth. Bolton's theory is that the pouch acts like a nutcracker, holding microorganisms in place while internal pincers puncture the organisms and suck up their fluid contents.

Imaging mites of this size and body type require cold-temperature scanning so they aren't crushed by the intense vacuum effect of a normal electron microscope. Bolton and his co-authors froze the living mites in liquid nitrogen immediately upon collecting them, allowing for images of the mites just as they appeared in their natural habitat.

And though its movement and muscle pattern along the length of its body does resemble a worm's, the mite cannot alter its diameter in the way a worm can.

With an external surface resembling abacus beads, these mites "are like miniature accordions," Bolton said. "It's a case of convergent evolution they have the same basic way of moving as worms, insofar as their cuticle extends and contracts, but they also have legs and, to some extent, still use them. The worm-like motion helps them move around through tight spaces."

As far as evolution goes, the Nematalycidae branch off of the tree of life from ancient groups of mites whose fossils date back 400 million years, when the environment throughout much of the world was arid.

"They're well adapted to living in extremely adverse environments which makes them extremophiles. They're also fascinating to look at, and are interesting for addressing ecological and evolutionary questions," he said. "Because of their small size, there is very little understanding of how mites interact with their environment or other organisms."

Bolton plans to further describe this mite's complex oral structure and hopes to identify specifically what it uses for food.


'/>"/>

Contact: Samuel Bolton
Samuel.Bolton77@googlemail.com
614-292-7180
Ohio State University
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Carp dominate crayfish in invasive species battleground
2. New species of deep-sea catshark described from the Galapagos
3. Global warming threat to coral reefs: Can some species adapt?
4. Hiding in plain sight, a new frog species with a weird croak is identified in New York City
5. Hiding in plain sight, new frog species found in New York City
6. European grasslands challenge rainforests as the most species-rich spaces on Earth
7. A new pipewort species from a unique, but fragile habitat in India
8. Plant DNA speaks English, identifies new species
9. Ancient whale species sheds new light on its modern relatives
10. Head and body lice appear to be the same species, genetic study finds
11. Weeding out invasive species with classical biological control
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Worm-like mite species discovered on Ohio State's campus
(Date:2/2/2016)... , Feb. 2, 2016  Based on its ... & Sullivan recognizes US-based Intelligent Retinal Imaging Systems ... Sullivan Award for New Product Innovation. IRIS, a ... North America , is poised to ... growing diabetic retinopathy market. The IRIS technology presents ...
(Date:1/28/2016)... JOSE, Calif., Jan. 28, 2016 Synaptics (NASDAQ: SYNA ... results for its second quarter ended December 31, 2015. ... second quarter of fiscal 2016 increased 2 percent compared to the ... second quarter of fiscal 2016 was $35.0 million, or $0.93 per ... Non-GAAP net income for the first quarter of fiscal 2016 grew ...
(Date:1/22/2016)... DUBLIN , January 22, 2016 ... has announced the addition of the  ... to their offering. --> ... of the  "Global Behavioral Biometric Market ... --> Research and Markets ( http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/4lmf2s/global_behavioral ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/11/2016)... and GERMANTOWN, Maryland , February ... Prime Standard: QIA) today announced the introduction of more ... expression profiling, expanding QIAGEN,s portfolio of Sample to Insight ... to select from over 20,000 human genes and lncRNA ... genes, cellular phenotypes and disease processes. --> ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... 2016  Spectra BioPharma Selling Solutions (Spectra) is ... biopharma companies the experience, expertise, operational delivery and ... sales teams. Created in concert with industry leading ... strategic and tactical needs of its clients by ... both personal and non-personal promotion. ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... ... February 11, 2016 , ... ... delivering cutting-edge information focused on the development and manufacture of biopharmaceuticals and ... premier sponsor of the 2016 BioProcess International Awards – Recognizing Excellence in ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... DELRAY BEACH, Florida , February 11, 2016 ... --> PositiveID Corporation ("PositiveID" or "Company") (OTCQB: ... and diagnostics, announced today that its Thermomedics subsidiary, ... significant progress on its growth plan in January ... healthcare products distributors, increasing sequential monthly sales growth, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: