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Aculops fuchsiae, commonly known as fuchsia gall mite, is a species of mite in the family Eriophyidae. It feeds on Fuchsia plants, causing distortion of growing shoots and flowers. It is regarded as a horticultural pest.

DescriptionEdit

Aculops fuchsiae is too small to be seen with the naked eye;[2] female adult mites are between 200 and 250 micrometres (0.20 and 0.25 mm) long and 55 and 60 micrometres (0.055 and 0.060 mm) wide, with males slightly smaller.[3] It is white or pale yellow in colour and has a wormlike or spindle-like body shape, with two anterior (front) pairs of legs

BiologyEdit

A. fuchsiae is host specific and the only eriophyid mite known to attack Fuchsia.[5] It feeds on the shoot tips, where it sucks sap.[2] It produces chemicals that interfere with the plant's normal growth, which instead becomes a distorted mass of reddish-pink or yellowish green tissue. There are several generations between late spring and autumn; the life cycle takes about 21 days at 18°C.[2] There are four life stages: egg, larva, nymph and adult. Eggs take between 4 and 7 days to hatch at 18°C, and females lay up to 50 eggs at one time.[5] The mite's cold tolerance is not known; it may remain active over winter if temperatures are high enough, though in cooler areas overwintering occurs beneath bud scales.[2] The Northwest Fuchsia Society states that mites in the Pacific Northwest of the USA may have been killed by −6 °C (21 °F) occurring over 3 to 4 nights, though outdoor mite populations in southern England appear to have survived winters with prolonged periods below 0 °C (32 °F).[5] Colonization of new Fuchsia plants occurs either by the mites being blown by wind or via hitching rides on insects and other animals travelling between plants.

DistributionEdit