Faunistic Analysis of Soil Mites in Coffee Plantation

Abstract ─ The soil-litter system is the natural habitat for a wide variety of organisms, microorganisms and invertebrates, with differences in size and metabolism, which are responsible for numerous functions. The soil mesofauna is composed of animals of body diameter between 100 μm and 2 mm, consisting of the groups Araneida, Acari, Collembola, Hymenoptera, Diptera, Protura, Diplura, Symphyla, Enchytraeidae (Oligochaeta), Isoptera, Chilopoda, Diplopoda and Mollusca. These animals, extremely dependent on humidity, move in the pores of the soil and at the interface between the litter and the soil. The edaphic fauna, besides having a great functional diversity, presents a rich diversity of species. As a result, these organisms affect the physical, chemical and, consequently, the biological factors of the soil. Therefore, the edaphic fauna and its activities are of extreme importance so that the soil is fertile and can vigorously support the vegetation found there, being spontaneous or cultivated. The composition, distribution and density of the edaphic acarofauna varies according to the soil depth, mites size, location and the season of the year. Edaphic mites are generally found in greater quantities in the organic matter layer than in the soil mineral. The subclass Acari is divided in seven orders being the Mesostigmata, Trombidiformes, Endeostigmata and Sarcoptiformes those that frequently occur in the soil. In the order Sarcoptiformes the suborder Oribatida (formerly Cryptostigmata) is one of the more numerous groups of soil arthropods, both in number of species and specimens. Considering the above facts, it was the objective of this work to know the acarofauna of the soil in a coffee plantation and rank the taxa in a decreasing way, by the use of faunistic analysis. The soil samples were taken in coffee plantation in the Experimental Station of EPAMIG, in São Sebastião do Paraíso, MG, Brazil, in two periods, end of dry and end of rainy season of the year 2013, and the extraction of edaphic mites of the soil mesofauna was done at the Laboratory of Acarology of EPAMIG Sul/EcoCentro, in Lavras, as well as other activities related to the study. The result show that edaphic mites of the cohort Astigmatina and suborder Oribatid are dominant in both periods studied, and can be worked to be an indicative of soil quality.

Keywords ─ Agricultural acarology, Coffea arabica, Edaphic mites, Soil mites, Soil mesofauna.

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Agriculture Journal- Faunistic Analysis of Soil Mites in Coffee Plantation

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