Ahamad M, Louis SR, Hamid Z and Ho TM (2011). Scanning electron micrographs of medically important dust mite, Suidasia pontifica (Acari: Astigmata: Saproglyphidae) in Malaysia. Tropical Biomedicine 28(2): 275-283
Suidasia pontifica Oudemans, 1905 is a mite that is cosmopolitan in distribution (Chmielewski, 2009). In Malaysia, the species was found as a common inhabitant of house dust (Ho & Nadchatram, 1984; Ho & Nadchatram, 1985; Ho & Mariana, 1994; Mariana et al., 2000; Mariana, 2002). Eighty percent (80%) of the houses surveyed were positive for this mite with densities ranging from 2 to 50 mites per gram of dust (Mariana, 2002). The species was also found in commercial goods such as milk powder (Ho, 1996), rice grains (Mariana et al., 2009) and rice flour (Mariana et al., 2010). In the past, the species was suspected to be involved in dust sensitivity (Pearson & Cunnington, 1973), but it has now been shown to produce allergens and is as important as other allergen producing mite in sensitization and causing allergic symptoms in Malaysians (Mariana et al., 2002). The species S. pontifica was first described in 1905 by Oudemans. This however, was being later redescribed as Suidasia medanensis Oudemans, 1923 (Oudemans, 1924). Notes on the species were then used in the description of mites of stored food and houses (Hughes, 1976) and a new species of Suidasia from Australia (Fain & Philips, 1978). Little information is available on the biology of S. pontifica (Mariana et al., 1998; Chmielewski, 2009). Illustration of S. pontifica by scanning electron micrographs (SEM) has not been widely reported. SEMs of the species are presented here to provide an improved visualization of the morphological characters of the mites.