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Type: Proceedings Papers
Published: 2022-11-30
Page range: 24–28
Abstract views: 152
PDF downloaded: 173

How mites surprise us

SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, 1 Forestry Drive, Syracuse, New York, USA 13210
mites Acarology


It truly is an honor to be included among the recipients of the James Allen McMurtry Award, bestowed by the Systematic & Applied Acarology Society. I am grateful to Dr. Zhi-Qiang Zhang and the selection committee, and especially to Dr. Maria Minor, who nominated me, wrote the associated biography with Dr. Valerie Behan-Pelletier (Minor & Behan-Pelletier 2022), and recorded my oral presentation. The award was unexpected, since my career as a soil biologist seems rather unrelated to Jim’s field of biological control. But while acarologists occasionally have surprised me, mites do it constantly. One need not look far. Even our follicle mites, which certainly surprised our mid-19th century ancestors by their form and presence, continue to surprise us today: they have the lowest number of protein-coding genes known in arthropods, according to Smith et al. (2022). Having been asked by Dr. Zhang to offer some reflections on my half-century in acarology, I can think of no better premise than to give some examples of the numerous times and ways in which my focal group—oribatid mites—surprised, even astonished me.


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