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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2020

Diversity and Distribution of Mites (Acari: Ixodida, Mesostigmata, Trombidiformes, Sarcoptiformes) in the Svalbard Archipelago

Seniczak, Anna; Seniczak, Stanislaw; Schwarzfeld, Marla D.; Coulson, Stephen J.; Gwiazdowicz, Dariusz J.


Svalbard is a singular region to study biodiversity. Located at a high latitude and geographically isolated, the archipelago possesses widely varying environmental conditions and unique flora and fauna communities. It is also here where particularly rapid environmental changes are occurring, having amongst the fastest increases in mean air temperature in the Arctic. One of the most common and species-rich invertebrate groups in Svalbard is the mites (Acari). We here describe the characteristics of the Svalbard acarofauna, and, as a baseline, an updated inventory of 178 species (one Ixodida, 36 Mesostigmata, 43 Trombidiformes, and 98 Sarcoptiformes) along with their occurrences. In contrast to the Trombidiformes and Sarcoptiformes, which are dominated in Svalbard by species with wide geographical distributions, the Mesostigmata include many Arctic species (39%); it would thus be an interesting future study to determine if mesostigmatid communities are more affected by global warming then other mite groups. A large number of new species (42 spp.) have been described from Svalbard, including 15 that have so far been found exclusively there. It is yet uncertain if any of these latter species are endemic: six are recent findings, the others are old records and, in most cases, impossible to verify. That the Arctic is still insufficiently sampled also limits conclusions concerning endemicity.


checklist; Astigmata; Endeostigmata; Oribatida; Prostigmata; climate change; Arctic; Svalbard

Published in

2020, volume: 12, number: 9, article number: 323
Publisher: MDPI

Authors' information

Seniczak, Anna
University of Bergen
Seniczak, Stanislaw
Kazimierz Wielki University
Schwarzfeld, Marla D.
Agriculture and Agri Food Canada
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Swedish Species Information Centre
University Centre in Svalbard
Gwiazdowicz, Dariusz J.
Poznan University of Life Sciences

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