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Koch (1838) established Eupalus and described the first mite belonging to Cunaxoidinae, Eupalus croceus. Baker and Hoffmann (1948) proposed Cunaxoides to replace Eupalus Koch as the name was preoccupied (a fact that acarologists had missed for 100 years) by Eupalus Gistl; they also redescribed and reillustrated a number of known species. Radford (1950) proposed Haleupalus to replace Eupalus, though this name is invalid because it is predated by Cunaxoides. Smiley (1975) erected Neocunaxoides and reviewed Cunaxoides. Both genera were assigned to the newly established Cunaxoidinae by Den Heyer (1978c). Pulaeus was established by Den Heyer (1979b); the name is an anagram and nod to Eupalus. Den Heyer (1979c) erected Scutopalus for those cunaxoidines with well-demarcated dorsal and ventral plates. Smiley (1992) synonymized Scutopalus with Neocunaxoides and Haleupalus with Cunaxoides; he also erected Denheyernaxoides and Paracunaxoides as monotypic genera in two new subfamilies, Denheyernaxoidinae and Paracunaxoidinae respectively. Castro and Den Heyer (2009) split a new genus, Lupaeus, from Pulaeus based on the number of setae on basifemora IV (1 and 2, respectively) and the number of pointed processes on the pedipalpal tibiotarsi (2 and 1, respectively). Den Heyer and Castro (2009) split Bunaxella, Dunaxeus, Funaxopsis, and Qunaxella from Cunaxoides; they also moved Denheyernaxoides and Paracunaxoides to Cunaxoidinae, thus disregarding Denheyernaxoidinae and Paracunaxoidinae as valid subfamilies.
Gnathosoma. Pedipalps 3-segmented: a trochanter which lacks setae, fused femurogenu (femur + genu) which is complemented with 5 or 6 setae, and tibiotarsus (tibia + tarsus) which is complemented with 5 or 6 setae. Tibiotarsi may be complemented with a bladder- or bulb-like apophysis. Pedipalps do not reach beyond the subcapitulum by more than the distal half of the tibiotarsi. Chelicera with or without seta near the cheliceral digit. Subcapitulum with 4 pairs of setae (hg1–4) are present; setae hg4 is often the longest. 2 pairs of adoral setae are present or absent.
Idiosoma, dorsal. Female with proterosomal shield (absent in Cunaxoides ulcerosus) which is complemented with two pairs of setae (lps and mps) and two pairs of setose sensillae (at and pt) and may bear a hysterosomal plate complemented with a varying number of setae; when present the dorsal hysterosomal plate may be fused with the proterosomal shield. Dorsal plates well demarcated or not. Dorsal setae c1–h1 are present; c2, f2 and h2 may also be present. If f2 is present, f1 and f2 may be located together on a small platelet. Setae not on larger plates may be born on small platelets barely larger than the setal socket. Cupule im present laterad and posterior of e1. Integument that is not covered in shields or plates is striated
Idiosoma, ventral. Coxae of female vary in size, from being restricted to the trochantral bases to being extensive and nearly forming a holoventral shield. Coxae may or may not be well demarcated. Coxae I–II fused (usually) or not, coxae III–IV fused (usually) or not. Coxae I–II may coalesce medially to form a sternal shield. The genital plates each bear 4 setae (g1–4); 2 pairs of genital papillae visible underneath the plates. The anal plates bear one pair of setae (ps1); one pair of setae is present ventrally on the integument near the anal plates (either ps2 or pa). Cupule ih is present ventrally laterad the integumental setae associated with the anal plates. The integument that is not covered in shields or plates is striated. Legs. Tarsi never constricted apically so as to end in lobes. Trichobothrium on leg tibia IV present. Ambulacral claws are rippled and occur on either side of a 4-rayed empodium.
Key to adult female Cunaxoidinae
(modified from Den Heyer and Castro 2009)
- Skvarla, M; Fisher, J; Dowling, A; 2014: A review of Cunaxidae (Acariformes, Trombidiformes): Histories and diagnoses of subfamilies and genera, keys to world species, and some new locality records ZooKeys, 418: 1-103. doi
- Koch C (1838) Deutschlands Crustaceen, Myriapoden und Arachniden (D.C.M.A.), 20.21, 20.22, 20.23 and 20.24.
- Baker E, Hoffmann A (1948) Acaros de la familia Cunaxidae. Anales de la Escuela Nacional de Ciencias Biologicas Mexico 5(3–4): 229–273.
- Radford C (1950) Systematic checklist of mite genera and type species. Union internationale des sciences biologiques. Serie C. (Section d'entomoligie) 1: 1–232.
- Smiley R (1975) A generic revision of the mites of the family Cunaxidae (Acarina). Annals of the Entomological Society of America 68(2): 227–244.
- Den Heyer J (1978c) A new cunaxid subfamily and the neotype designation of Cunaxoides croceus (Koch, 1838) (Prostigmata:Acari). Acarologia 20(3): 338–193.
- Den Heyer J (1979b) Pulaeus, a new cunaxid genus (Prostigmata: Acari). Acarologia 21(1): 18–31.
- Den Heyer J (1979c) Scutopalus, a new cunaxid genus from the Ethiopian Region (Prostigmata: Acari). Acarologia 21: 187–193.
- Smiley R (1992) The predatory mite family Cunaxidae (Acari) of the world with a new classification. Indira Publishing House, West Bloomington, Michigan, 356 pp.
- Den Heyer J (2009) Order Prostigmata, family Cunaxidae. In: Van Harten A (Ed) Arthropod fauna of the UAE, Vol. 2, 17–25.
- Den Heyer J, Castro T (2009) Four new cunaxoidine genera (Acari: Prostigmata: Cunaxidae) and the description of two new Neotropical species. Zootaxa 2140: 1–15.