About Tetranychus urticae
Tetranychus urticae, the two-spotted spider mite, is a tiny (~0.4mm long) herbivorous chelicerate that eats a wide range of plants, including many agriculturally important species such as maize and tomato. T. urticae has adaptations to cope with plant defence strategies, and is able to rapidly develop resistance to pesticides , so infestations are often controlled with predatory mites such as Phytoseiulus persimilis.
In common with the pea aphid, T. urticae can synthesize carotenoids (unlike all other animals) due to fungal-like genes gained through horizontal gene transfer . These carotenoid genes are not known in other arthropods, but appear sufficiently similar to imply one ancestral transfer event in arthropods, suggesting a secondary transfer between aphid and spider mite (since gene loss in so many other species is implausible) . As their name suggests, spider mites spin webs with silk on the undersides of leaves, although the mechanism has a distinct evolutionary origin compared to silk production in spiders. The genome sequence of T. urticae is thus a valuable resource for the study of specific areas such as pest-plant interactions or the use of silk as a biomaterial, and as a representative chelicerate in broader studies of metazoa .
Picture credit (Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0): J. Holopainen 2006
Taxonomy ID 32264
This species currently has no variation database. However you can process your own variants using the Variant Effect Predictor: