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Updated: November 6, 2009 14:06 IST

Indian scientists discover new genus of mite

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Mangalaus, the new genus of mite discovered by Indian scientists
PTI Mangalaus, the new genus of mite discovered by Indian scientists

US scientists say a new mite discovered by their counterparts at the Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) and christened Mangalaus represents "a new genus".

The taxonomists of the ICAR Network Project on Insect Biosystematics, who discovered the new mite, named it after Director General Mangal Rai.

Renowned mites and ticks expert (acarologist) James Amrine of the West Virginia University said: "This mite has an eye-like ocelli and represents a new genus."

Ronald Ochoa of the US Department of Agriculture said there was no report of such structure in this mite family. "The round area, yes almost it does look like an eye, but as you know, there is no report of such structure in this mite family," he said.

The mite, which is too small to be seen by the naked eye, was found in the farm of the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi. The mite with an average length of 200 microns (one micron is 1,000th of a millimetre) feeds on a leaf called Erineum on the fragrant plant Manjarack or Indian cherry. The scientists named it after Rai because of his "abiding interest" in insect bio-systematics.


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