Published online by Cambridge University Press: 06 April 2009
1. Previous attempts to feed the postlarval stages of the British harvest mite, Trombicula (Neotrombicula) autumnalis Shaw, are outlined briefly.
2. Methods by which mites were collected from the field are described and discussed.
3. The methods adopted for providing a suitable artificial environment in the laboratory, and the method by which feeding trials were conducted are described. The materials and organisms supplied as possible sources of food are listed, together with the results obtained when these were offered to nymphs or adults in controlled trials.
4. The feeding behaviour of adult mites in response to the eggs of an Entomobryid Collembolan, Sinella curviseta Brook, is described.
5. The nature of the probable diet in nature is briefly discussed.
6. The possible influence of ecological isolation on the evolution of polymorphic larval types is discussed.
7. The effect on the mite population of the destruction of rabbits, the principal vertebrate host in the experimental area, by myxomatosis is outlined.