UTMN: Diversity of armored mites of Southeast Asia assessed

Zootaxa journal has published a catalogue of oribatid mites (Acari: Oribatida) from Continental Southeast Asia, prepared by Leonila Corpus-Raros (University of the Philippines, Los Banos) and Sergei Ermilov (Institute X-BIO University of Tyumen).

This paper presents a catalogue of oribatid mites (Acari, Oribatida) recorded from Continental Southeast Asia (CSEA) covering a period of 55 years from 1965 to the first half of 2020. This subregion comprises countries that are located on the southeastern coast of the Asian continent, namely, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. For each species, information is compiled on references to the original description, subsequent re-combinations of specific name with other genera, and junior synonyms used in CSEA literature, if any, as well as type habitat, habitats recorded later, and distribution within outside CSEA. A historical review of explorations and taxonomic studies in the various countries is also provided.

A total of 820 valid species including subspecies and seven doubtful species are known so far from CSEA. The valid species belong to 313 genera and subgenera, 94 families and 36 superfamilies in all of the five infraorders and two hyporders of the Suborder Oribatida. The Hyporder Brachypylina is most diverse with 620 species, followed by Mixonomata (88), Enarthronota (65), Nothrina (41), Palaeosomata (5) and Parhyposomata (1).

Vietnam whose fauna has been best explored tops the records with 730 species, followed by a low second by Thailand (137), then Cambodia (37) and Myanmar (11) while the oribatid fauna of Laos is still entirely unknown. Altogether, the oribatid fauna of Southeast Asia (SEA), including its two subregions, now totals 1601 species belonging to 477 genera, 109 families and 40 superfamilies.

Endemic species, known only from mainland Southeast Asia, account for a significant proportion (36.4% in Myanmar, 32.1% in Thailand, 23.7% in Vietnam, 59% for the Malay Archipelago and 48.7% for Southeast Asia. generally). About 7% of the recorded species are cosmopolitan and semi-cosmopolitan in distribution, although the fauna in general is oriental in nature, with about half of the species found in other oriental areas. Many species are noted as common with other zoogeographic regions, for example, 12-14% with the Palaearctic, 8-16% with the Australian region, 8-11% with the Neotropical; 3-11% from the Ethiopian and 1-3% from the Nearctic region.

The study is based on the long-term work of Tyumen scientists at the Russian-Vietnamese Tropical Center, a branch of the A.N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution in Vietnam.

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