Tuckerella, Prostigmata, Tuckerellidae

Ornate false spider mites (Prostigmata, Tuckerellidae) are believed to be the earliest derivative family in the Tetranychoidea (spider mites and their relatives). Unlike most plant-parasitic mites, Australian species of Tuckerella tend to be found on the stems of woody plants - usually in the cracks on small twigs - where they appear to feed on the cambium. However, other species of Tuckerella are associated with grasses. The long plumose posterior setae that can extend the length of the body (they are truncated in this picture) may help these mites to disperse on wind currents, but the function of the leaf-like body setae is unknown.

Centre for Microscopy and Microanalysis