Stacey Cougill's picture

Spider mites?

Observed: 20th March 2009 By: Stacey CougillStacey Cougill’s reputation in Invertebrates
photo 5
photo 6 zoom 2
photo 6 zoom 2 2

Found on a gorse bush on an urban common. The dense web like structure was enclosed with what looked like spider mites. Is this likely to be the case? Can anyone help? Thank you.

Species interactions

No interactions present.

Species with which Gorse Spider Mite (Tetranychus lintearius) interacts


miked's picture

Remarkable. Do you have a

Remarkable. Do you have a closer version so its possible to see a bit more detail. sometimes ordinary young spiders (not spider mites) explode out from a web but I suspect this is something else as there are so many, perhaps they are indeed spider mites.
They have been used to control gorse in NZ see link below
however in that image it seems the mites are a bit smaller.

Stacey Cougill's picture

Thanks for your help. I've

Thanks for your help. I've edited the photo in this observation to show a closer version, although I'm not sure that it will help further, as it's still not great. Thanks for the website link too.

iSpot Biodiversity Mentor - London

Martin Harvey's picture

Gorse Spider Mite?

Not something I knew anything about, but a Google search produced some information on the Gorse Spider Mite Tetranychus lintearius, which seems to fit your photo and observation well. The mite has been introduced from Europe to New Zealand in an attempt to control Gorse there, where it is an invasice species. See this information from Suffolk Naturalists' Society:

Entomologist and biological recorder

Donal's picture

I can confirm that this is

I can confirm that this is Tetranychus lintearius. It is the only mite which causes this type of thick webbing on gorse. Spiderlings do not form such dense colonies. In the 1980s I did the host specificity screening prior to the introduction to New Zealand. I also did quite a bit of field collecting the in the UK and Spain. It used to be quite hard to find in the Surrey and Berkshire area at that time so some collecting had to be done in cornwall where it was quite common. It seems to be turning up further north more often now so it would be interesting to know how far north it is spreading. If anyone else finds it please post your record here to see whether there really has been a northward shift and how far it has moved.


Jonathan's picture

Amazing! Your request is

Amazing! Your request is interesting too. Do you think we need a 'Help me' group where people can post such requests and where people looking for a challenge can go to find one?

University of Edinburgh and Biodiversity Observatory (OU)

Martin Harvey's picture

good idea

Yes, some sort of "help me" feature would be good, either a group, a noticeboard or some way of flagging it up from within an existing thread. Thanks for the fascinating 'inside information' Donal.

Entomologist and biological recorder

Donal's picture

Yes a "help me" spot would be

Yes a "help me" spot would be a great facility. It would be a way of maintaining the interest of users in the site.