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Type: Article
Published: 2011-12-20
Page range: 34–38
Abstract views: 136
PDF downloaded: 154

Some statistics on the taxonomy of the family Cunaxidae (Acari: Prostigmata)*

Department Zoology & Entomology, University of the Free State, P.O. Box 339, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Biological control catalog database predator


Cunaxidae is a cosmopolitan mite family consisting only of predatory species. Prompted by the goals of “Species 2000”, a database for the cunaxids was prepared and made available at The family is presently arranged in five subfamilies, six tribes, 27 genera and 329 species. The three largest subfamilies are Cunaxinae, Coleoscirinae and Cunaxoidinae. Cunaxa is themost species-rich genus, followed by Armascirus and Coleoscirus.Most of the authors of new cunaxid species have theirworking bases in the Palaearctic,Oriental andNearctic Regions. By far, the largest numbers of species have been described fromSouthAfrica, USAand Philippines, but the distribution of the described speciesmay not reflect the actual diversity of thesemites around the globe. Rather, itmay reflect the variable dedication of authors in different countries in their study. In most countries, taxonomic studies of the cunaxids have hardly started, and much remains to be investigated. However, an immediate threat to the future of cunaxid taxonomy refers to the fact that most of the cunaxid taxonomists are retired, and that replacement by new taxonomists has not been considered a priority. Efforts should be directed to change this trend, motivating new professionals to take the cunaxids at least as part of their working priorities. In this work, I comment on the experience in trying to establish a database for the Cunaxidae, provide themost relevant results of this effort in relation to that family, and provide comments and advice for other professionals interested in doing similarwork for othermite groups.