Griffiths D.A. 2015. The ‘californicus’ conundrum // Acarina. Vol.23. No.1: 3–24 [in English].

Agrobio S P, Ctra. Nacional 340, Km 419, El Viso (La Mojonera) Almeria, 04745, Spain Acarology Consultants 3, Sunray Avenue, West Drayton, Middlesex, UB7 7AH England; e-mail:

ABSTRACT: The sixty years of taxonomic history surrounding the specific epithet ‘californicus’ is reviewed. Original descriptions of the major works, so involved, are evaluated for taxonomic accuracy. The perplexities which have been engendered during this period are discussed. It is proposed that a species complex composed of some eight taxa, representing six species, surrounds the original Typhlodromus californicus McGregor, 1954, namely; Typhlodromus mungeri McGregor, 1954; Typhlodromus chilenen- sis Dosse, 1958; Amblyseius californicus (McGregor), sensu Cakmak & Cobanoglu, 2006; Amblyseius californicus (McGregor), 1954, sensu Schuster & Pritchard, 1963; Cydnodromus californicus (McGregor) Athias-Henriot, 1977; Neoseiulus californicus (McGregor) sensu Tixier et al., 2008; Neoseiulus wearnei (Schicha), 1987, sensu Tixier et al. 2013; Neoseiulus californicus sensu lato, Xu et al., 2013.

The first four listed are considered to be discrete species. The fifth, the A. californicus of Schuster & Pritchard, generally accepted to represent a definitive re-description of McGregor’s californicus, is itself a discrete species. The californicus taxon of Athias- Henriot, 1977 and of Tixier et al., 2008, and wearnei of Schicha, 1987 are considered to represent just one species. The taxon of Xu et al. 2013 is morphologically very similar to this species, but as these authors so stated it is not identical to their taxon.

The taxon, of Athias-Henriot 1977, Tixier et al. 2008 and Schicha 1987, is being sold world-wide by commercial producers of phy- toseiid predator mites under the mistaken label Neoseiulus or Amblyseius californicus. The identity of field records carrying the specific label ‘californicus’ are believed now not to be reliable.

KEY WORDS: phytoseiid mites, Typhlodromus, taxonomy.

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