Many a reader will look upon taxonomy as the human habit to drive nature into a neat system of cubicles, like the system of Linnaeus, based on a never changing order. But after Darwins the origin of species, taxonomy evoluted itself into an attempt to understand the ever changing wealth of species and the relations between different species that are based on a common origin (phylogenetics).

Taxonomy of the watermites is complex, because their ancestors were probably several land species which moved to the water at one time or another, and so watermites form a heterogeneous group (Wesenberg Lund 1939). Early naturalists did not have our knowledge and excellent books, and they didn't know what to think of the encountered watermite larvae and nymphs, often these were inadvertently named as different species. Reading parts of Kritisch historisch overzicht der Acaralogie (Oudemans, 1929) gives a good impression of the difficulties the first investigators must have had, with their rather primitive equipment. And so the watermites were classified over and over again in different systems on the basis of new insights by later investigators like Koenike, Kramer, Piersig and Williamson. Their names are still present in the scientific names of watermites:
- as an author name: Hygrobates calliger Piersig 1986
- as a species name: Limnesia Koenikei Piersig 1984
- as a genus name: Neumania imitata Koenike 1908.

There are many classification systems for animals. On this page is a scheme I constructed on basis of a small part of the ”Taxon Tree” of the Fauna Europaeae (see link lower on this page).

Please note: The scheme on this page is incomplete, it may contain errors and is not based on my own insights. It's only here to show a possible taxonomic place for the watermite species on this website and to show the complexity of the watermite taxonomy. Do NOT use it as a reference.

The scheme starts at the top with the giant phylum of the arthropods (Arthropoda), one of the fifteen phyla in the subkingdom Eumetazoa, which holds almost all animal species. Other phyla are for example the molluscs (Mollusca) and the vertebrates (Chordata).

Within the arthropods the watermites are placed in the Chelicerata, the ”animals that wear chelicerae”. Spiders have chelicerae in the form of a sort of fangs, which are poisonous. Watermites have other, more knife- or needlelike chelicerae which are not poisonous as far as I know, but the mouthparts do inject protein dissolving saliva.

Descending the scheme, we meet with the infraclass Acarina, here the mitelike and ticklike creatures have been gathered in a large group, some works give this group the alternative name Acari. The Acarina are subsequently devided in the mitelike creatures (Acariformes) and the ticklike creatures (Parasitiformes). The Acariformes are subdivided in three orders, the order Prostigmata contains the watermites. Prostigmata are mites that have the openings of their breathing tubes (stigmata) lying at front (Pro-), upon the mouthparts.

In this scheme the watermites are grouped in eight superfamilies which, together with a number of superfamilies of land mites are gathered in a suborder, the Anystina.

See also page 1 for a description of the relations of some of the (sub)orders in this scheme.


Phylum Phylum Arthropoda - Phylum Arthropods
Subphylum
Subphylum
Chelicerata
Animals bearing chelicerae
Crustaceae
Crustaceans
Uniramia
 
Classis
Classe
Arachnidae
Spiderlike animals
Merastomata
Horseshoe crabs
Pycnogonida
Sea spiders
Myriapoda
Millipedes
Hexapoda
Insects
Subclassis
Subclass
Micrura
 
Dromopoda
(Opiliones,Scorpiones a.o.)
 
Infraclassis
Infraclass
Acarina (Acarida, Acari)
Mites and Ticks
Megoperculata
 
 
 
Acarina (Acarida, Acari) Megoperculata
Superordo
Superorder
Actinotrichidae
(Acariformes)
Anactinotrichidae
(Parasitiformes)
Ordo
Order
Prostigmata
(Actinedida, Trombidiformes)
Oribatida
Moss mites
Astigmata
(Sarcoptiformes)
Ixodida
Ticks
other
 
Araneae
Spiders
other
 
Subordo
Suborder
Anystina
 
Eupodina
 
other
 
 
 
Ixodina
 
Argasina
 
Superfamilia
Superfamily
Watermites
(8 superfamilies)
other
(9)
Halacaroidae
a.o.
 
 
26 super-
families
Sarcoptoidae
and 10 other
Ixodidae and
Amblyommidae
Argasidae
 
 
 

The eight watermite superfamilies are shown below here.
To fit the table on the page they are show vertical, not horizontal like the previous table.

Small print: not in the Netherlands or (very) rare,
Italics: not found in the Netherlands. (Smit & van der Hammen, 2000).
Bold print: present on this website, contains the link to a species of the genus.

Superfamilia Superfamily Family Subfamily Genus
Subordo
Anystina

Suborder
Anystina

Hydrachnoidea Hydrachnidae Hydrachninae Hydrachna
Eylaoidea Apheviderulicidae Apheviderulicinae Apheviderulix
Limnocharidae Limnocharinae Limnochares
Stygolimnocharinae Parawandesia
Eylaidae Eylainae Eylais
Piersigiidae Piersigiinae Piersigia
Hydryphantoidea Hydryphantidae Hydryphantinae Hydryphantes
Thyadinae Euthyas
Panisellus
Panisopsis
Panisus
Thyas
Thyopsis
Other
Protziinae Protzia
Partnunia
Diplodontinae Diplodontus
three other  
Hydrodromidae Hydrodrominae Hydrodroma
Lebertioidae Sperchontidae Sperchontinae Charoelia
Sperchon
Sperchonopsis
Lebertiidae Lebertiinae Lebertia
Oxidae Oxinae Frontipoda
Oxus
Torrenticolidae Torrenticolinae Monotractides
Pseudotorrenticola
Torrenticola
three other    
Hygrobatoidea Limnesiidae Limnesiinae Limnesia
Hygrobatidae Hygrobatinae Hygrobates
Atractides
three other
Unionicolidae Unionicolinae Unionicola
Pionatacinae Neumania
Pionidae Foreliinae Forelia
Pseudofeltria
Pioninae Piona
Tiphyinae Hydrochoreutes
Pionacercus
Pionopsis
Tiphys
two other  
Wettinidae Wettininae Wettina
Aturidae Albiinae Albia
Aturinae Aturus
Kongsbergia
Axonopsinae Axonopsis
Brachypoda
Ljania
ten other
three other    
Arrenuroidea Mideidae Mideinae Midea
Mideopsidae Mideopsinae Mideopsis
Arrenuridae Arrenurinae Arrenurus
eight other
Hydrovolzioidae Hydrovolziidae Hydrovolziinae Hydrovolzia
Stygothrombioidae Stygothrombiidae Stygothrombiinae Stygothrombinum
nine other (land mites)    


In other works this group Acari is described as a subclass (Wikipedia, van der Hammen 1972).

The difficult name Actino-trichidae implies the presence of the refringent actinopilin in some hairs (-trichidae). An- = not, so the Anactinotrichidae don't have hairs with actinopilin (v.d. Hammen, 1972b). The same author (v.d. Hammen 1986) describes how the muscles of the gnathosoma (the head with the chelicerae) are also different in both groups.

Van der Hammen (1972) doesn't mention a suborder Anystina, but places this group of mites as an infraorder Hydrachnei under a suborder called Trombidina. In the scheme on this page that suborder is fused with the Anystina .

REFERENCE LIST

v.d. Hammen, L. (1972b). A Revised classification of the mites (Arachnidea, Acarida) with diagnosis, a key and notes on phylogeny. Zoologische mededelingen Leiden 47 (22) . Retrieved from http://www.repository.naturalis.nl/document/150181.

v.d. Hammen, L. (1986). Acarological and Arachnological notes. Zoologische mededelingen Leiden 60 (14) 18-09-1986. Retrieved from http://www.repository.naturalis.nl/document/150442.

Oudemans, A.C. (1929). Kritisch historisch overzicht der Acaralogie Tijdschrift voor entomologie (supplement) 72 Nederlandsche Entomologische Vereeniging Amsterdam 1929. Retrieved from http://ia700402.us.archive.org/19/items/tijdschriftvoore72nede/tijdschriftvoore72nede.pdf.

See also the REFERENCE LIST on page 1

LINKS

The table on this page constructed with data of Fauna Europaea.org.

Een chemotaxonomical classification on basis of proteins.

An other taxonomical classification.

A number of expansive namelists with synonyms. The page is maintained by coworkers of the Department of Entomology of the Texas A&M University.
The list contains links to mite families. By clicking for example the Pionidae you may find the coordinator, with a link to the names and synonyms of the Piona species.

Wikipedia: Phylogenetics.

More links in the REFERENCE LIST on page 1


INTRODUCTION    ANATOMY    LIFE CYCLE    SPECIES   TAXONOMY

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