Systematic & Applied Acarology
ISSN 1362-1971
An international journal of the Systematic and Applied Acarology Society, published since 1996

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Systematic & Applied Acarology (2002) 7, 3-14

Molecular markers for the phylogenetics of mites and ticks


Ecology and Entomology Group, Soil, Plant and Ecological Sciences Division, Lincoln University, PO Box 84, Lincoln,

Canterbury, New Zealand;


Molecular methods are becoming increasingly important in systematic acarology. In this review I describe the

properties of the ideal molecular marker and compare these with genes that have been used for phylogenetic

studies of mites and ticks. The second internal transcribed spacer of the nuclear ribosomal gene cluster (ITS2)

and the mitochondrial protein-coding gene cytochrome oxidase I (COI) together provide a powerful tool for

phylogenetics at low taxonomic levels. The nuclear ribosomal genes 18S and 28S rDNA are equally powerful

tool for phylogenetics at the deepest levels within the Acari. What appear to be lacking are markers that are

useful at intermediate levels. The mitochondrial ribosomal genes 12S and 16S rDNA have not lived up to their

initial promise. I suggest some nuclear protein-coding genes that may be suitable alternatives. Methods for

collection and storage of mites for molecular work, DNA extraction and phylogenetic analysis are also briefly


Key words: Acari, molecular systematics, phylogenetics

Copyright 1999-2002 Systematic and Applied Acarology Society
Last updated 15 Jul. 2002
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