on mites began in 1880 with the USDA employee N. Banks, who published several
papers on spider mites of the family Tetranychidae, predator mites from the
families Stigmaeidae and Cunaxidae, and plant associates from the family Tarsonemidae
In 1915 Banks authored the first comprehensive English handbook on mites. Banks
left the USDA in 1916 to work at the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Cambridge.
E.A. McGregor overlapped briefly with Banks as an employee of the USDA. Working
in the Division of Southern Field Crop Insect Investigations, McGregor published
several papers dealing with spider mites and his collections from these projects
laid the basis for the U.S. National Mite Collection's holdings for the family
1919, Banks was succeded by Acarologist H.E. Ewing who had experience working
on predaceous and parasitic mites of several different families. During his
tenure with the USDA, Ewing focused extensively on chiggers (Trombiculidae)
and bee mites in the family Tarsonemidae
In 1944, E.W. Baker joined Ewing at the USDA. Baker's research encompassed a
wide range of families of mites important to agriculture, livestock, and stored
grain. Additionally, he carried out extensive studies of predatory, saprophytic,
and parasitic mites. Together with G.W. Wharton, Baker authored the first major
text on the subject of mites, An Introduction to Acarology
in 1952, the book provided a broad overview of the Acari and was accessible
to a wide audience, which included the general public as well as students. Because
of Baker's many outstanding contributions to acarine classification, systematics,
and taxonomy, his peers honored him along with Wharton as the "Fathers of Modern
Day Acarology." Even though he retired in 1987, he continued to perform extensive
research on plant-feeding mites of the families Tetranychidae and Tenuipalpidae
until 1996, when he moved to the Philippines with his wife, M. Delfinado-Baker.
Delfinado-Baker was also a USDA Acarologist, who worked in the ARS
Bee Research Lab
. Together, she and her husband, carried out additional
studies on the mites associated with a variety of bees.
1961, R. L. Smiley was assigned to the Systematic Entomology Laboratory. Smiley
worked on a number of families of plant-feeding, predatory, and parasitic mites.
Additionally, he focused on mites in the families Tarsonemidae and Pyemotidae.
Smiley's major contribution to the acarological literature is his 1992 publication,
The Predatory Mite Family Cunaxidae (Acari) of the World. Smiley also
collaborated with J.C. Moser, a mite specialist at the USDA's Southern Forest
Experiment Station in Pineville Louisiana. Moser's work focused primarily on
mites related with forest ecosystems, and many of the specimens he collected
during his tenure from 1958 to 1989 have greatly enriched the U.S. National
Mite Collection. Although retired, Moser is still actively pursuing mite related
research and maintains a close relationship with the Sytematic Entomology Laboratory's
U.S. National Mite Collection is especially strong in groups of economic concern
to agriculture. Those well represented are the Tetranychoidea, Cheyletoidea,
(H.H. Keifer's collection),
Hydrachnoidea (I.M. Newell's collection), American parasitic and predaceous
Mesostigmata, Phytoseiidae, Trombiculidae, and stored-product and bee mites.
Many specimens have been studied by Amrine, Baker, Denmark, DeLeon, Fain, Ewing,
Jacot, Johnston, Kethley, Krantz, Lindquist, McGregor, Norton, Ochoa, OConnor,
Smiley, Welbourn, as well as by many more researchers throughout the United
States and around the world.