A new species of mite has been described in the ponds of a Madrid town

A new species of water mite it has just become part of the list of species known to science. It is about Piona alpedretinea, a mite discovered in one of the permanent ponds of the Madrid municipality of Alpedrete by a research team in which the National Museum of Natural Sciences (MNCN-CSIC).

The aquatic mites is the third group in diversity of species in continental waters, behind the Diptera (flies) and Coleoptera (beetles)

“We have decided to name the new species after the locality where we have discovered it to serve as a reminder of the relevance of small ponds as reservoirs of the biodiversity and promote the policies of environmental Protection necessary for these environments ”, clarifies the MNCN researcher, Antonio G. Valdecasas.

The new species, less than one millimeter in the case of both males and females, belongs to the genus of Piona mites and is characterized by its color Red. It feeds mainly on mosquito larvae and other insects, controlling their populations, while serving as food for larger species.

The morphological characters that differentiate it from other species of the genus are found in the ventral surface, with a very small number of structures called acetabulae, which form an arch around the genital opening of the animal.

“This species belongs to a group of Piona that has a wide geographic distribution and deserves to be investigated more deeply, using molecular characters. The problem is that, for the moment, it has not been possible due to lack of funding, ”laments Valdecasas.

The discovery of this species highlights the prominent role of ponds as reservoirs of biodiversity

Antonio G. Valdecasas

The aquatic mites is the third group in diversity of species in continental waters, behind the diptera (flies) and coleoptera (beetles). In the Community of Madrid there are more than 100 registered species and some more are waiting to be described for science.

“The fact that unknown species are found in seemingly well-studied environments should help us to realize that biodiversity is present everywhere and we must not only protect remote environments with virgin forests, but we must also conserve and enhance the natural development of what is closest to us ”, concludes the expert.


Valdecasas, AG, et al. 2020. “A new species of the Piona nodata complex from the Iberian Peninsula”. Iberian Journal of Arachnology, 37: 153-158.

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