Solar ultraviolet-B (UVB) radiation and radiant heat have lethal effects on plant-dwelling mites, including spider mites, and their natural enemies, such as phytoseiid mites, leading them to reside on lower leaf surfaces. Panonychus spider mites are outcompeted by Tetranychus spider mites and thus exploit upper leaf surfaces, where they are exposed to both UVB radiation and radiant heat. Panonychus spider mites are thought to produce astaxanthin constitutionally. In this study, we compared carotenoid components, antioxidant capacity, lipid peroxidation, survival, and egg production in wild-type (WTS) and albino-type strains (ATS) of Panonychus citri (McGregor). Four carotenoids (neoxanthin, violaxanthin, lutein, and carotene) and their isomers and esters were identified in both strains, but astaxanthin and its esters were present only in WTS. The singlet oxygen scavenging capacity of lipid-soluble ingredients was greater in WTS than in ATS, whereas the oxygen radical absorbance capacities of hydrophilic ingredients were equivalent between them. Lipid peroxide accumulation was clearly higher in ATS than in WTS under both UVB irradiation (25 °C) and high temperature (35 °C) conditions. The findings are consistent with an antioxidant protective function of astaxanthin in this mite. Survival periods at 38 °C were longer in WTS than in ATS, although no difference was shown at 35 °C or under UVB irradiation. Therefore, astaxanthin accumulation was shown to be a major mechanism for survival under radiant heat, although other mechanisms, such as photoreactivation, might play a major role in survival under UVB radiation.
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Vol. 46 • No. 5