Megninia casuaricola sp. n. (Acari: Analgidae), the first feather mite from a cassowary (Aves: Struthioniformes: Casuariidae)
A new species of mite from the family Analgidae, Megninia casuaricola sp. n., is described from the feathers of a southern cassowary, Casuarius casuarius (L.). Until now, cassowaries were among the few terrestrial birds thought to be without feather mites. The new species of mite is readily distinguished from other described species of Megninia Berlese by the lack of vertical setae (vi) in all stages, poorly developed tibial spurs on legs I and II, and elongate and deeply incised terminal lobes in the male. Megninia species are primarily associated with galliform birds, but are also known from Coliiformes, Cuculiformes and Columbiformes. Feather mites have now been collected from most living genera of ratites (Struthio L., Rhea Brisson, Apteryx Shaw, Casuarius Brisson, but not Dromaius Vieillot). Host ranges and phylogenetic affiliations of these mites do not support the common belief that ratites represent a primitive palaeognathous lineage; rather, they agree more readily with the hypothesis that ratites are descendants of relatively recent neognathous birds.
Australian Journal of Entomology
© 2001 Blackwell Publishing. The definitive version is available at [www.blackwell-synergy.com.]