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Tetranychus urticae


Tetranychus urticae

Tetranychus urticae
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Arachnida
Subclass: Acari
Order: Trombidiformes
Family: Tetranychidae
Genus: Tetranychus
Species: T. urticae
Binomial name
Tetranychus urticae
C. L. Koch, 1836

Tetranychus urticae (common names include red spider mite and two-spotted spider mite) is a species of plant-feeding mite that is generally considered a pest. It is the most widely known member of the family Tetranychidae or spider mites. Its genome was fully sequenced in 2011, and was the first genome sequence from any chelicerate.


  • Distribution 1
  • Description 2
  • Ecology 3
  • Life cycle 4
  • Genomics 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Tetranychus urticae was originally native only to Eurasia, but has acquired a cosmopolitan distribution.[1]


Colony of red spider mites

Tetranychus urticae is extremely small, barely visible with the naked eye as reddish or greenish spots on leaves and stems; the adult females measure about 0.4 mm long.[2] The red spider mite, which can be seen in greenhouses and tropical and temperate zones, spins a fine web on and under leaves.[2]


Tetranychus urticae is extremely polyphagous; it can feed on hundreds of plants. These include most vegetables and food crops – including peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, beans, maize and strawberries – and ornamental plants such as roses.[2] It is the most prevalent pest of Withania somnifera in India.[3] It lays its eggs on the leaves, and it poses a threat to host plants by sucking cell contents from the leaves cell by cell, leaving tiny pale spots or scars where the green epidermal cells have been destroyed.[2] Although the individual lesions are very small, attack by hundreds or thousands of spider mites can cause thousands of lesions and thus can significantly reduce the photosynthetic capability of plants.[2]

The mite's natural predator, Phytoseiulus persimilis, commonly used as a biological control method, is one of many predatory mites which prey mainly or exclusively on spider mites.[2]

Other than certain aphids, T. urticae is the only animal known to be able to synthesise carotenoids. As in aphids, the genes for carotene synthesis appear to have been acquired through horizontal gene transfer from a fungus.[4]

Life cycle

Tetranychus urticae reproduces through arrhenotoky, a form of parthenogenesis in which unfertilized eggs develop into males.[5]

The eggs of T. urticae are translucent and pearl-like.[1] It hatches into a larva and then two nymph stages follow: a protonymph, and then a deutonymph, which may display quiescent stages. The adults are typically pale green in colour for most of the year, but later generations are red in colour; mated females survive the winter in diapause.[1]


Genomic information
NCBI genome ID
Ploidy haploid (males) / diploid (females)
Genome size 90.82 Mb
Year of completion 2011

The genome of T. urticae was fully sequenced in 2011, and was the first genome sequence from any chelicerate.[6]


  1. ^ a b c D. A. Raworth, D. R. Gillespie, M. Roy & H. M. A. Thistlewood (2002). "Tetranychus urticae Koch, twospotted spider mite (Acari: Tetranychidae)". In Peter G. Mason & John Theodore Huber. Biological Control Programmes in Canada, 1981–2000.  
  2. ^ a b c d e f Thomas R. Fasulo & H. A. Denmark (December 2009). "Twospotted spider mite". Featured Creatures.  
  3. ^ Ashutosh Sharma & Pratap Kumar Pati (2012). in India"Withania somnifera, infesting Tetranychus urticae"First record of the carmine spider mite, ( 
  4. ^ Boran Altincicek, Jennifer L. Kovacs & Nicole M. Gerardo (2011). "Tetranychus urticae"Horizontally transferred fungal carotenoid genes in the two-spotted spider mite .  
  5. ^ Cytological studies of the two-spotted spider mite Tetranychus urticae Koch (Tetranychidae, trombidiformes). I: Meiosis in eggs. C. C. M. Feiertag-Koppen, Genetica, 1976, Volume 46, Issue 4, pages 445-456, doi:10.1007/BF00128090
  6. ^ Miodrag Grbić, Thomas Van Leeuwen, Richard M. Clark, Stephane Rombauts, Pierre Rouzé, Vojislava Grbić, Edward J. Osborne, Wannes Dermauw, Phuong Cao Thi Ngoc, Félix Ortego, Pedro Hernández-Crespo, Isabel Diaz, Manuel Martinez, Maria Navajas, Élio Sucena, Sara Magalhães, Lisa Nagy, Ryan M. Pace, Sergej Djuranović, Guy Smagghe, Masatoshi Iga, Olivier Christiaens, Jan A. Veenstra, John Ewer, Rodrigo Mancilla Villalobos, Jeffrey L. Hutter, Stephen D. Hudson, Marisela Velez, Soojin V. Yi, Jia Zeng, Andre Pires-daSilva, Fernando Roch, Marc Cazaux, Marie Navarro, Vladimir Zhurov, Gustavo Acevedo, Anica Bjelica, Jeffrey A. Fawcett, Eric Bonnet, Cindy Martens, Guy Baele, Lothar Wissler, Aminael Sanchez-Rodriguez, Luc Tirry, Catherine Blais, Kristof Demeestere, Stefan R. Henz, T. Ryan Gregory, Johannes Mathieu, Lou Verdon, Laurent Farinelli, Jeremy Schmutz, Erika Lindquist, René Feyereisen & Yves Van de Peer (2011). "The genome of Tetranychus urticae reveals herbivorous pest adaptations".  

External links

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