Diversity and Distribution of Mites (Acari: Ixodida, Mesostigmata, Trombidiformes, Sarcoptiformes) in the Svalbard Archipelago
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionDiversity. 2020, 12 (9), 323. 10.3390/d12090323
Svalbard is a singular region to study biodiversity. Located at a high latitude and geographically isolated, the archipelago possesses widely varying environmental conditions and unique flora and fauna communities. It is also here where particularly rapid environmental changes are occurring, having amongst the fastest increases in mean air temperature in the Arctic. One of the most common and species-rich invertebrate groups in Svalbard is the mites (Acari). We here describe the characteristics of the Svalbard acarofauna, and, as a baseline, an updated inventory of 178 species (one Ixodida, 36 Mesostigmata, 43 Trombidiformes, and 98 Sarcoptiformes) along with their occurrences. In contrast to the Trombidiformes and Sarcoptiformes, which are dominated in Svalbard by species with wide geographical distributions, the Mesostigmata include many Arctic species (39%); it would thus be an interesting future study to determine if mesostigmatid communities are more affected by global warming then other mite groups. A large number of new species (42 spp.) have been described from Svalbard, including 15 that have so far been found exclusively there. It is yet uncertain if any of these latter species are endemic: six are recent findings, the others are old records and, in most cases, impossible to verify. That the Arctic is still insufficiently sampled also limits conclusions concerning endemicity.