Diversity of Water Mites (Acari: Hydrachnidiae): Great Smoky Mountains National Park 2005 and 2006 All Taxa Biological Inventory
Andrea J. Radwell, Biological Sciences, University of Arkansas, SCEN Room 601, Fayetteville, AR 72701 and Ian M. Smith, Agriculture and Agri-food Canada, Canadian National Collection of Insects and Arachnids, 960 Carling Avenue, Ottawa, ON K1A 0C6, Canada.
Pleistocene glaciation played an important role in determining the distribution of water mites in North America. The Appalachian region served as a major unglaciated refugium throughout the time when biotic ecozones were compressed south of continental ice sheets. In 2005, we initiated an intensive survey of water mite diversity as part of the All Taxa Biological Inventory of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Water mites were collected from rivers, streams, waterfalls, and springs in northern and western watersheds of the Park. Our survey was expanded in 2006 to southern and eastern watersheds of the Park. Thus far we have collected approximately 150 species representing 51 genera in 25 families and 7 superfamilies. Nearly half of those species are undescribed, including new species of the genera Acherontacarus and Bogatia, not previously known from North America, and Chelohydracarus and Neomideopsis, previously known only from Oregon and California. This project is part of a larger effort to revitalize research on water mites of North America using biodiversity surveys, testing of biogeographic hypotheses, systematics research, and development of a communication network to facilitate greater inclusion of water mites in freshwater research.