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Photoperiodic and Thermoperiodic Control of Diapause in Plant-Inhabiting Mites: a Review

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image of Netherlands Journal of Zoology
For more content, see Archives Néerlandaises de Zoologie (Vol 1-17) and Animal Biology (Vol 53 and onwards).

The spider mite Tetranychus urticae and the phytoseiid predatory mite Amblyseius andersoni both exhibit a facultative reproductive diapause, which is expressed in females only. Profound similarities of a qualitative nature were found in responses to photoperiod of these two species, which might indicate the presence of a common physiological basis for the photoperiodic induction of diapause. These similarities concern the use of vitamin A (or a derivative of vitamin A) as photoreceptor pigment for the photoperiodic clock, and the nature of the photoperiodic clock and photoperiodic 'counter', i.e. the mechanism that accumulates and integrates the output of the photoperiodic clock over a sequence of light/dark cycles. The spider mite and predatory mite differ in their response to temperature. Whereas daily fluctuating temperatures (thermoperiods) induce diapause in A. andersoni in the complete absence of light, no such thermoperiodic response could be detected in T. urticae. Some striking similarities were demonstrated between the photoperiodic and thermoperiodic response mechanisms in the predatory mite. The results strongly suggest that photoperiodic and thermoperiodic induction of diapause in A. andersoni are based on the same physiological mechanism. Similarities between the photoperiodic response mechanisms of mites and insects are discussed. The common interpretation of the role of the circadian system in the photoperiodic response mechanism of insects and mites is criticized and an alternative explanation of circadian effects on photoperiodic phenomena is presented.

Affiliations: 1: (Department of Pure and Applied Ecology, Section Population Biology, University of Amsterdam, Kruislaan 320, 1098 SM Amsterdam, The Netherlands


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