False spider mite

Scientific name

Brevipalpus sp.

Description of adult

The adults are red and flat, and about 0.25mm long, with 2 pairs of short legs at the front of the body and 2 pairs of short legs flanking the narrow abdomen.

Immature stages

The eggs are red and oval, and usually laid singly near the main veins on the undersides of leaves. Nymphs are similar in shape to the adults.

Life history

False spider mites are slow-moving and are occasionally seen on the undersides of leaves and on leaf stalks in dry weather in summer. They do not spin a web.


Subcoastal and coastal Queensland.

Host range

Citrus, orchids, passionfruit, papaya, rambutans, durian and mangosteen.


Minor and infrequent pest.

Infestations occur mainly during hot dry weather and cause scarring and discolouration of maturing fruits, which become unmarketable. Generally damage is uncommon, but the mites blemish orange fruits, tending to infest areas of the fruit surface already damaged by other insects. In Florida, false spider mites have been associated with the diseases known as 'leprosis', 'Florida scaly bark' and 'nailhead rust' which cause lesions on fruits, leaves and bark.



Predatory mites are usually active amongst false spider mite infestations.


Predatory mites usually keep populations in check except when weather conditions are wet. However, if considerable fruit losses are occurring treatment is warranted.

Chemical registrations and permits

Check the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority database for chemicals registered or approved under permit to treat this pest on the target crop in your location. Always read the label and observe withholding periods.