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Keywords:

  • classification;
  • identification;
  • mites;
  • phylogeny;
  • taxonomy

Taxonomy provides the basis for the identity of species, allowing the construction of keys and the reliable, reproducible identification of dust mites for ecologic purposes and other studies. Details are given of nomenclatorial conventions in taxonomy as applied to dust mites, and taxonomically problematic entities are highlighted, such as Blomia kulagini and the sibling species Dermatophagoides farinae and D. microceras. Current keys to dust mites and advances in interactive computer keys are reviewed. An hypothesis of the phylogeny of the family Pyroglyphidae is presented, based on habitat specificity, geographic distribution, and association with birds. The value of predictive classifications based on phylogenies is stressed. Finally, a pictorial key is presented to the mites found in house dust in Scandinavia.