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Global diversity of oribatids (Oribatida: Acari: Arachnida)

Authors:Heinrich Schatz and Valerie Behan-Pelletie

Abstract:Oribatid mites are primarily terrestrial. Only about 90 species (less than 1% of all known oribatid species) from 10 genera are truly aquatic, with reproduction and all stages of their life cycle living in freshwater. Adaptation to aquatic conditions evolved independently in different taxa. However, many terrestrial species can also be found in aquatic habitats, either as chance stragglers from the surrounding habitats, or from periodic or unpredictable floodings, where they can survive for long periods. In spite of their low species richness aquatic oribatids can be very abundant in different freshwater habitats as in lentic (pools, lakes, water-filled microhabitats) or flowing waters (springs, rivers, streams), mainly on submerged plants. The heavily sclerotized exoskeletons of several species enables subfossil or fossil preservation in lakes or bog sediments.

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