Female (left) and male (right) Sancassania berlesei acarid soil mites used in our research at Leeds and Essex.
The mites are an excellent model organism for the study of population and evolutionary ecology in organisms with complex life histories. In addition to showing significant growth from birth, fish like life histories where body size is related to fecundity these mites have a genetic*environment interaction that determines their expression of a male sexually selected trait – fighter mites. The trait is development of the third leg pair as strong pincers to kill other males. Expression of this trait is selected against at high population densities.
We are interested in the mites as a model organism for studying individual and populations responses to environmental change & the evolution of plasticity.
If you are interested in working with us on this system please get in touch.