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Introduction

Water mites, also known asthe Hydracarina, Hydrachnidia or Hydrachnellae, are a group of ninesuperfamilies and more than 40 families from the prostigmatan CohortParasitengona. Although other taxa of parasitengone mites have specieswith semi-aquatic habits (e.g. the Johnstonianidae), only the Hydracarinaare truly subaquatic. There are approximately 5000 named species of watermites (Smith & Cook 1991); however, as water mites of Africa, Asia, andmuch of South America have been poorly studied, this is likely a greatunderestimate of their true number. They live in all types of freshwaterbodies, from tree holes to hot springs to deep lakes to torrentialwaterfalls, and some have also invaded oceans (Cook 1974).

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