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Spectrum-specific Damage and Solar Ultraviolet Radiation Avoidance in the Two-spotted Spider Mite


Corresponding author email: (Masahiro Osakabe)


The spatial distribution of the two-spotted spider mite Tetranychus urticae Koch is biased toward the lower surfaces of leaves as compared with the upper leaf surfaces on their host plants. Because of the deleterious effects of solar ultraviolet (UV) irradiation, we hypothesized T. urticae remains on lower leaf surfaces as an adaptation to avoid solar UV radiation (UVR). We examined the effects of solar UVR components on females and tested whether spatial distribution was associated with solar UVR avoidance. Attenuation of solar UVR using UV opaque film increased fecundity and reduced the movement of females from the upper to the lower leaf surfaces. In contrast, diverting solar UVR to the lower leaf surface using a light reflection sheet caused the mites to move from the lower to the upper leaf surfaces; however, attenuated UV reflection did not, suggesting that they occupy the lower leaf surface to avoid solar UVR. In monochromatic UVR tests, no eggs hatched when placed under 280–300 nm radiation, whereas almost all eggs hatched at 320–360 nm. Adult females, however, did not avoid wavelengths of 280 and 300 nm, but avoided 320–340 nm. We conclude that T. urticae exploit UVA information to avoid ambient UVB radiation.