a suborder of mites of the order Acariformes; the most numerous of all soil arthropods. The mites are enclosed in a sclerotized integument, whose sexual, anal, and oral openings are covered with opercula.
The developmental cycle consists of two morphologically and biologically distinct stages. The presexual forms (larvae, nymphs), which have soft integuments and are marked by cutaneous respiration, inhabit the top layers of the soil. Sexually mature individuals, which are armored and breathe through tracheae, inhabit the soil surface and the forest litter. They are capable of migrating vertically during fluctuations of moisture and temperature. The cycle from birth to sexual maturity lasts between 30 and 75 days.
The Oribatei are intermediate hosts of tapeworms of the family Anoplocephalidae, which are the causative agents of several helminthic diseases, including monieziasis. Worm eggs swallowed by a mite develop in 70 to 100 days into embryos, or cysticercoids (invasive stage), which remain inside the mite until the mite dies or is eaten by a ruminant.
Control measures include the dehelminthization of animals and the use of pastures that are not infested with mites.
REFERENCEBulanova-Zakhvatkina, E. M. Pantsirnye kleshchi oribatidy. Moscow, 1967.
E. M. BULANOVA-ZAKHVATKINA