Calepitrimerus vitis

Scientific Name Calepitrimerus vitis (Nalepa)
Synonyms Epitrimerus vitis, Phyllocoptes vitis
Common Names English: Grape leaf rust mite; German: Rebstock-Kräuselmilbe; Spanish: Acariosis de la vid; French: Phytopte de l'acariose de la vigne; Italian: Eriofide dell'acariosi della vite; Portuguese: Acariose da videira
Description The adult female has four legs and a fusiform („spindle-shaped“) about 0,15 mm (0.006 inch) long body of ivory-white to brownish color.

Biology

Damage

In spring infestation leads to irregular, delayed or even absent opening of buds and shoot development.
Throughout the season sucking by C. vitis causes disturbance of growth. Internodes are stunted, the increased number of side shoots leads to „witches brooms“. Leaves stay small and become curled, the areas between the leaf veins are arched characteristically.
In severe cases leaflets get brown and fall off. Inflorescences can be crippled, leading to reduced setting of fruit. Signs on main leaves of an infestation are irregularly distributed puncture sites that appear slightly transparent when the leaf is held against the light.
In summer, the foliage gradually turns brown, beginning with the upper sides of sun-exposed leaves. The bunches of grapes can be sparse, some berries may burst due to damaged epidermis.

Lifecycle

The mites hibernate in colonies of several hundred females under bud scales and in cracks of the bark. In spring they enter the opening buds and lay their eggs. By sucking on apical tissues they and their offspring disturb the development of plant organs. Development from egg to adult lasts about 2-3 weeks.
When the shoot has got several leaves, the mites switch over to them, live and propagate at their underside until late autumn (Oct/Nov). New generations constantly migrate to the youngest leaves and colonise new buds.
Reproduction of C. vitis is mostly parthenogenetic, males are rare.
The adult females of Calepitrimerus vitis appear in two variants, the protogyneous form in summer and the deutogynous form in winter. They were formerly described as two different species, namely Epitrimerus vitis and Phyllocoptes vitis.

Occurrence

Agricultural Importance

The grape leaf rust mite is found worldwide in all vine growing countries. In temperate climates (e.g. Middle Europe) about four generations per season are observed, but under favorable conditions 7-10 are possible. Damage caused by the grapevine rust mite can be severe, untreated infestation may in extreme cases lead to vines dying off.

Control

Integrated Crop Management

After spraying of acaricides application of predatory mites, which are important antagonists of C. vitis, can be useful.

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