Tomato russet mite

Aculops lycopersici

Members of A. lycopersici feed on the foliage, inflorescence and young fruit of tomato plants causing shrivelling and necrosis of leaves, dropping of flowers, russeting of fruit and, if uncontrolled, death of the plants.

Eggs are round and colorless to white. The eggs are laid on leaves and stems of plants. Both males and females hatch in 2.3 days.

The larval stage or first nymphal stage lasts about 11 hours for females and about 7 hours for males. The larval chrysalis (quiescent molting period between stages) lasts about 13 hours for both males and females. Larvae are white in color and look similar to the adults, but they are smaller and less active.

The nymphal stage or second nymphal stage lasts a little over a day for females and about 19 hours for males. The nymphal chrysalis lasts 18 hours for females and 16 hours for males.

The adults are about 0.15 to 0.2 mm long and 0.05 mm wide. Their bodies are torpedo-shaped and cream to light gray-brown in color. Females live for about 22 days and males live for an average of 16 days. Females have a preovipositional period of 2 days and an ovipositional period of 19 days. The female produces an average of 16 eggs during the ovipositional period. Offspring of both sexes are produced by fertilized females. Unfertilized females only produce males.

The tomato russet mite can kill tomato plants by feeding and reproducing rapidly on tomato plants.

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