A qualitative and quantitative comparison of mite fauna between bifenthrin-treated and non-pesticide treated alfalfa hay fields in Central Greece

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The mite fauna in foliage and litter of a sprayed alfalfa hay field with the acaricide-insecticide bifenthrin, was studied based on monthly samplings from foliage and litter in Central Greece between 2008–2009. Potential differentiations between this field and two adjacent alfalfa hay fields, which were not subjected to pesticide applications and were managed with different number of cuttings, were also evaluated in terms of population fluctuation over time, population density, species richness, diversity and spatial distribution. The sprayed field hosted 50 and 68 species and morphospecies in foliage and litter respectively, depicting high relative abundance of oribatid and prostigmatic mites. Neoseiulus aristotelisi Papadoulis, Emmanouel and Kapaxidi, was a new record for alfalfa, previously found in rice in Macedonia, Greece. The seasonal fluctuation of mites, particularly in foliage, was similar in all fields. The spatial distribution of a Zygoribatula species, which was common and dominant in all fields, was also aggregated. Finally, the sprayed field shared similar mite diversity with the two non-sprayed fields, but not similar species richness.

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