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Revista de la Sociedad Entomológica Argentina

Print version ISSN 0373-5680On-line version ISSN 1851-7471

Rev. Soc. Entomol. Argent. vol.75 no.1-2 La Plata June 2016



First record of the nasal mite Rallinyssus caudistigmus Strandtmann (Acari: Rhinonyssidae) from Argentina

First record of the nasal mite Rallinyssus caudistigmus Strandtmann (Acari: Rhinonyssidae) from Argentina


Kun, Marcelo1 E. & Rocío M. Vega2

1 Laboratorio de Zoología, Centro Regional Universitario Bariloche, Universidad Nacional del Comahue, Quintral 1250, Bariloche Río Negro, Argentina. E-mail:
2 Laboratorio de Parasitología, INIBIOMA (UNCo-CONICET), Quintral 1250, Bariloche Río Negro, Argentina.

Recibido: 30-I-2016
Aceptado: 22-III-2016


RESUMEN. Durante el estudio de la parasito fauna de la gallareta de ligas rojas Fulica armillata del Lago Mari Menuco en el noroeste de la Patagonia argentina, se encontraron ejemplares de ácaros nasales pertenecientes a Rallinyssus caudistigmus. Este es el registro más austral de R. caudistigmusen F. armillatacomo nuevo hospedador.

PALABRAS CLAVE: Ácaros Rhinonyssidae; Aves; Rallidae; Argentina

ABSTRACT. During an examination of the parasite fauna of the Red-gartered Coot Fulica armillata from the Mari Menuco lake in the Northwestern Argentinean Patagonia, nasal mite specimens belonging to Rallinyssus caudistigmus were found. This is the southern most record of R. caudistigmusin F. armillata as a new host.

KEY WORDS: Rhinonyssidae; Birds; Rallidae; Argentina


The most diverse group of nasal mites is the Rhinonyssidae (Mesostigmata), members of which include only blood sucking species living on the mucosa of bird nasal turbinates (Fain, 1994). Rhinonyssid genera vary in their degree of host specificity, some genera being restricted to one host family and others are found in different orders (Pence, 1973). Among the most host-specific rhinonyssids, Larinyssus Strandtmann species parasitize gulls and terns (Laridae); Rallinyssus Strandtmann species parasitize rails (Rallidae); and Rhinoecius Cooreman species parasitize owls (Strigiformes) (Knee et al., 2008).

While the genus Rallinysusis cosmopolitan in distribution, and host specificity seems fairly well pronounced (Pence & Young, 1979), in Argentina, none of the species of this genus have been reported so far. The aim of the present study was to report a new locality as well as a new host for the occurrence of the nasal mite Rallinyssus caudistigmus.

During a parasitological survey of patagonian aquatic birds from the Mari Menuco lake in the Confluencia department of the Neuquen province in Northwestern Argentinean Patagonia, seven Red-gartered Coots Fulica armillata (Gruiformes: Rallidae) were examined (Neuquen hunting permit number 127/14 dated 02/28/14 File 4351-001461713). The interior of the nasal cavities was washed and the contents and mucosa examined under a stereo microscope. Six females and one deutonymphof Rallinyssus caudistigmus Strandtmann were collected from two F. armillata, preserved in 70% ethanol, cleared in Nesbitt solution and then mounted in Hoyer´s medium for identification.

Members of the genus Rallinyssus are recognized easily by the presence of a short peritreme located dorsally at the posterior end of the body (Fig. 1). In the adults the dorsum has a podosomal shield exhibiting varying degrees of sclerotizations (Fig. 2). The gnathosoma shows four pair of ventral setae but has not a deutosternal groove. Epistoma can end anteriorly in a strongly arched and toothed margin. Chelicerae are well developed with two strong chelae nearly a fifth of the total length. Tritosternum and metasternal setae are absent. Sternal and genital plates are present in the female (Fig. 3). The anal plate is large. The anal pore can be surrounded by a large circular membrane. The cribrum is present on the posterior margin of the anal plate. This genus is nearly always hosted by members of the family Rallidae of the order Gruiformes.

Figs. 1-5.Rallinyssus caudistigmus Strandtmann. 1, peritreme; 2,podosomal shield; 3, female genital shield; 4, female, dorsal view; 5, anal membrane.

Rallinyssus caudistigmus (Fig. 4) has always the anal circular membrane present (Fig. 5) and the female podosomal plate is well developed, distinctly longer than wide (Fig. 3). There are two pairs of setae on the anterior half of the podosomal plate and a pair of setae posterior to this plate separated by a convexity. All specimens studied fit with the diagnosis of R. caudistigmus.

The genus Rallinyssus belongs to the subfamily Rhinonyssinae and was created by Strandtmann (1948) while describing specimens of R. caudistigmus found in the American coot Fulica americana and the king rail Rallus elegans. Later, Fain (1956) described Rallinys suscongolensis and Rallinys-suslimnocaris both hosted by the black crake Limnocorax flavirostra. Rallinyssus caudistigmus was again found in the red-knobbed Coot Fulica cristata from South Africa (Fain, 1959). Subsequently, a fourth species of Rallinyssus was described as R. strandtmanni from a male found in the common moorhen (Gallinulachloropus) in France (Gretillat, 1960). Thereafter Fain described R. gallinulae, again from the same bird species from Belgium and created the new genus Rallinys soides including R. congolensis and R. limnocoracis in it, based on the anus without a large circular membrane (Fain, 1960). The first described species of the genus for South America was Rallinyssus trappi which was included in the genus Rallinys soides found in the saracura-sanà Pardirallus nigricans in Brazil (Amaral, 1962). Rallinyssus limnocoracis was again found in the ruddy-breasted crake Porzana f. fusca from Malaya (Fain & Nadchatram, 1962). Rallinyssus verheyeni was described afterwards in Belgium, in the water rail Rallus aquaticus (Fain, 1963). Rallinyssoides was later synonimized with Rallinyssus (Wilson, 1965). In the same work hosted by pacific birds were described R. amaurornis from the white-breasted waterhen Amaurornis phoenicurus chinensis in Taiwan, R. cychramus from the crake Porzana unknown species and the little crake Porzanaparva, and R. rallus from the slated-breasted rail Rallus pectoralis both in New Guinea. Rallinys susgallinulae was also found in the purple gallinule Porphyrio poliocephalus melanopterus in New Guinea (Wilson, 1965) and in the buff-banded rail Hypotaenidia philippensis in Australia (Domrow, 1965). Rallinyssus amaurornis was also found later in Philippines, in the white-browed crake Amaurornis cinerea (Wilson, 1966). In this same work, also in the Philippines, R. porzanae from the spotless crake (filipina) Zapornia tabuensis filipina, and R. rallinae from the slaty-legged crake Rallina eurozonoides eurozonoides (Wilson, 1966) were described. In an important study of the nasal mites of Queensland birds, R. congolensis was synonymized with R. porzanae and R. gallinulae with R. rallus (Domrow, 1969). However, this last synonymy was later unsupported due to the character fixity of the podosomal plate of these species (Pence, 1972). Later R. gallinulae was found again in the purple gallinule Porphyrio poliocephalus in the Caspian Sea (Butenko, 1976). Rallinyssus caudistigmus was also found in Gallinula chloropus in Austria (Sixl, 1972), in the virginia rail Rallus limicola in USA (Pence, 1972), in the eurasian coot Fulica atra in Rumania (Feider & Mironescu, 1973) and in the Caspian Sea (Butenko, 1976), in the indian moorhen Gallinula chloropusindica from Japan (Kadosaka et al., 1987). Rallinyssus caspicus was described in the common moorhen Gallinula chloropus in the Caspian Sea (Butenko, 1976). The only contradictions about the regular hosting relationship between Rallynissus and Ralliforms, appear for the specimens of Rhinonyssus rhinoletrum found in the coot Fulica unspecified species from Thailand (Strandtmann, 1956) and in the American coot Fulica americana in USA (Pence, 1972) and Sternostoma fulicae found in Fulica atra in Belgium (Fain & Bafort, 1963) and in the Caspian Sea (Butenko, 1976). Rallinyssus verheyeni was also found in R. limicola and R. elegans from USA (Pence, 1972). The last described Rallinyssus is R. sorae collected in the carolina crake Porzana carolina in USA (Pence & Young, 1979). In Canada, R. caudistigmus was again found in the american coot Fulica americana (Pence, 1975).

We report here for the first time, a new host F. armillata for R. caudistigmus in the Argentine Northwestern Patagonia. Besides the fidelity of the genus Rallinyssus to the Family Rallidae, the nasal mite R. caudistigmus most frequently parasitizes members of the genus Fulica. These results could be related to the posterior diversification of the genus Fulica to a parasitization event of a Fulica ancestor by this mite. This is supported by the different parasitized Fulica species and the cosmopolitan distribution of R. caudistigmus. While only four species of Fulica have been found with R. caudistigmus, the possibility exists that the lack of records of these mites in the remaining seven species of Fulica (Birdlife international, 2016) would result from the lack of surveys.

This is the southernmost record of R. caudistigmus, corroborating its cosmopolitan distribution.


We thank the following funding agencies; Agencia de Promoción Científica y Técnica PICT 1288-2011 and CONICET PIP No.: 11220110100550, to Dra. Verónica Flores, to the Neuquen Fauna Direction, to Richard Greene of the Natural History Library Smithsonian Institution, to Yves Desdevises of the Observatoire Océanologique de Banyuls Université Pierre et Marie Curie France, and to Dalva Santos and Silvia Galleti of the Arqivos do Instituto Biológico Universidade de Sao Paulo Brazil and to the suggestions of an anonymous reviewer.


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