Tropical Ecology and Conservation [Monteverde Institute]

Alternative Title

Factores que influyen en la dispersión y la estructura de la población de ácaros en Centropogon solanifolius (Campanulaceae) y Columnea spp. (Gesneriaceae)


Emily Davis



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Publication Date

May 2007


Phoretic hummingbird flower mites of the genus Rhinoseius are nectar thieves of Centropogon solanifolius (Campanulaceae) and Columnea spp. (Gesneriaceae) at Monteverde. Dispersal by phoresy is a rare and risky, but nonetheless critical, event in the lives of hummingbird mites (Colwell and Naeem 1994). This study investigates factors that influence phoretic dispersal by R. colwelli (Mesostigmata: Ascidae), by comparing dispersal from C. solanifolius and Columnea spp. Additionally, this study explores the relationships between mite population size and structure in the two plant species. Flower age, mite population density, sex ratio, and nectar availability were considered as possible influences on dispersal and population structure. Artificial phoresy experiments were performed in the field and collected flowers were analyzed for nectar volume and mite populations. Population size was significantly, positively correlated to dispersal in both flowers (p < 0.000001, R2 = 0.229 for C. solanifolius; p < 0.000001, R2= 0.57 for Columnea), whereas nectar availability and flower age had no significant effect on dispersal. Population size had a significant, negative effect on proportion of males in a flower for both flowers (C. solanifolius: p = 0.0041, R2 = 0.236; Columnea: Spearman’s Rank p = 0.0002, Rho = -0.9328). This may be a result of the increasing tendency for male mites to disperse as population size grows, in order to find flowers with more unmated females. The haystack model of group selection might be implicated in the mite population structure of these two plant species.


Los ácaros de las flores de los colibríes del genero Rhinoseius son ladrones de néctar de las especies Centropogon solanifolius (Campanulácea) y Columnea spp. (Gesneriácea) en Monteverde. La dispersión por phoresy es un fenómeno riesgoso y poco común, pero no obstante critico en las vidas de los ácaros de los colibríes. Este estudio investiga los factores que influyen la dispersión de los acaro R. colwelli (Mesostigmata: Ascidae), para comparar la dispersión de C. solanifolius y de Columnea spp. Además, este estudio explora las relaciones entre el tamaño de la población de ácaros y su estructura en las dos especies de plantas.


Plant mites, Phoresy, Foresis, Campanulaceae, CIEE Spring 2007

Palabras claves

Ácaros de plantas, CIEE Primavera 2007


16 pages

Geographic Location

Monteverde (Puntarenas, Costa Rica)

Holding Location

Monteverde Institute


English; Spanish

Media Type



Digital Only





Factors influencing dispersal and population structure of phoretic mites in Centropogon solanifolius (Campanulaceae) and Columnea spp. (Gesneriaceae), May 2007



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