Fuchsia gall mite (Aculops fuchsiae)
Aculops fuchsiae, commonly known as fuchsia gall mite, is a species of mite in the family Eriophyidae. It feeds on Fuchsia plants, causing distortion of growing shoots and flowers. It is regarded as a horticultural pest. Aculops fuchsiae is too small to be seen with the naked eye; female adult mites are between 200 and 250 micrometres (0.20 and 0.25 mm) long and 55 and 60 micrometres (0.055 and 0.060 mm) wide, with males slightly smaller. It is white or pale yellow in colour and has a wormlike or spindle-like body shape, with two anterior (front) pairs of legs A. fuchsiae is host specific and the only eriophyid mite known to attack Fuchsia. It feeds on the shoot tips, where it sucks sap. It produces chemicals that interfere with the plant's normal growth, which instead becomes a distorted mass of reddish-pink or yellowish green tissue. There are several generations between late spring and autumn; the life cycle takes about 21 days at 18°C. There are four life stages: egg, larva, nymph and adult. Eggs take between 4 and 7 days to hatch at 18°C, and females lay up to 50 eggs at one time. The mite's cold tolerance is not known; it may remain active over winter if temperatures are high enough, though in cooler areas overwintering occurs beneath bud scales. The Northwest Fuchsia Society states that mites in the Pacific Northwest of the USA may have been killed by −6 °C (21 °F) occurring over 3 to 4 nights, though outdoor mite populations in southern England appear to have survived winters with prolonged periods below 0 °C (32 °F). Colonization of new Fuchsia plants occurs either by the mites being blown by wind or via hitching rides on insects and other animals travelling between plants.