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8 June 2022 The backbone of present-day water mite research in The Netherlands: A delayed congratulation to the 70th birthday of Harry Smit
Reinhard Gerecke, Vladimir Pešić
Author Affiliations +

Born on 4 December 1951 in Alkmaar, The Netherlands, Harry Smit did his studies of Biology at the University of Amsterdam and worked from 1979 to 2014 as an ecologist at the Province of South-Holland, The Hague. In addition, from 2000 to 2012 he worked as an honorary staff member at the Zoological Museum of the University of Amsterdam, and since 2012 as an Associate Researcher at the Naturalis Biodiversity Center in Leiden. All over this time, he also did very active research in Ornithology.

Introduced by Kees Davids (1931–2004, University of Amsterdam), Harry Smit started his activities as a water mite specialist in the 1990s. His first papers were published in cooperation with his friend and colleague Henk Van der Hammen (1943–2002) and dealt mostly with aspects of the Dutch water mite fauna. In 1992, he published a critical review of the work of Antonius Johannes Besseling (1898–1968), his most important precursor and author of the first comprehensive survey of the Dutch water mite fauna. While Besseling's life work concentrated nearly exclusively on the fauna of his home country, Harry Smit's activities followed a double track line:

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On one hand, he did continuous faunistic work in The Netherlands, also in cooperation with numerous colleagues employed in public authorities or private institutions all over the country. He became an outstanding consultant for the taxonomy and ecology of water mites in The Netherlands and transferred his knowledge in students and training courses, as well as in comprehensive books on the water mites of the country80, 122. The Books listed 273 species of Dutch water mites with nearly 200,000 records, an impressive number for such a small country, which makes the Netherlands certainly the best studied part of Europe.

On the other hand, Harry Smit started early to widen his view to many other parts of the globe. His taxonomic and faunistic studies developed a particular focus on the Australasian region during 11 collecting trips to Australia, 5 to New Zealand, 2 to New Caledonia, and 2 to New Guinea. Moreover, he published numerous papers on water mites from Africa, and also worked on the fauna of South America, Pacific Islands, and a wide variety of European countries. In most cases, the material treated was collected by the author himself. Upon returning from a field trip, Harry Smit quickly sorts the specimens, evaluates their zoogeographical significance, and makes the results public with a breathtaking velocity—often alone, but on other occasions involving colleagues in various manners. Until 2021, the detection of a total number of 639 species new to science, and the description of 28 genera and subgenera, was the rich outcome of his activities.

In more than 200 papers (co)authored by Harry1-209, he worked on a wide spectre of families, but gave a special focus to Arrenurus, the water mite genus most rich in species. Among others, arrenurid species were also the focus of his contribution142 to the three chelicerata volumes in the series “Süßwasserfauna von Mitteleuropa”, which provides a comprehensive overview of Central-Northern European aquatic mite fauna131,138,142.

Harry is a member of the editorial board of two scientific journals, Acarologia and Ecologica Montenegrina, in which he has contributed as author and reviewer.

In a yet more impressive way, his wake sense and encyclopaedic memory allowed him to bring all the gained knowledge together in a new edition of Dave Cook's “Water mite genera and subgenera”, since its publication in 1974, the leading book for all specialists in the group. “Water mites of the world, with keys to the families, subfamilies, genera and subgenera”86 is, for this extremely interesting group of invertebrates, the complete, revised and updated survey of the global diversity above species level.

We are pleased to nominate Harry Smit as the recipient of the James McMurtry Award, an occasion to thank him for his outstanding contribution to the world of water mite studies, as well as for his unique enthusiasm and support given to many colleagues over the years.

References

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Smit, H. (2010d) Hydrachnidia – watermijten. In: Noordijk, J., Kleukers, R.M.J.C. van Nieukerken, E.J. & van Loon, A.J. (Eds.), De Nederlandse biodiversiteit. Nederlandse Fauna 10. Nederlands Centrum voor Biodiversiteit Naturalis & European Invertebrate Survey – Nederland, Leiden, pp.167–168. (in Dutch) Google Scholar

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Smit, H. (2013a) New records of water mites mainly from Vogelkop, New Guinea (Acari: Hydrachnidia), with the description of one new genus and thirteen new species. Zootaxa, 3716, 207–235.  https://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.3716.2.5 Google Scholar

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Smit, H. (2013b) Three new hyporheic water mite species from Australia (Acari: Hydrachnidia). Subterranean Biology, 10, 37–42. Google Scholar

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Smit, H. (2014a) The first hyporheic water mites from the Afrotropical region (Acari: Hydrachnidia), with new species of the genera Kawamuracarus Uchida and Bharatohydracarus Cook. Acarologia, 54(1), 39–45.  https://doi.org/10.1051/acarologia/20142112 Google Scholar

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Smit, H. (2014b) Australian water mites of the genus Hydrachna Müller, with the description of five new species (Acari: Hydrachnidia: Hydrachnidae). Zootaxa, 3827, 170–186.  https://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.3827.2.3 Google Scholar

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Smit, H. (2014c) Order Trombidiformes, subcohort Hydrachnidia. First records of water mites from the United Arab Emirates. In: Van Harten, A. (Ed.), Arthropod Fauna of the UAE, 5, 5–12. Google Scholar

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Smit, H. (2015a) The water mite genus Procorticacarus K.O. Viets in Australasia (Acari: Hydrachnidia, Hygrobatidae). Zootaxa, 3956, 56–78.  https://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.3956.1.3 Google Scholar

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Smit, H. (2015b) A new notoaturine genus from New Zealand (Acari: Hydrachnidia: Aturidae: Notoaturinae). Zootaxa, 4033, 442–444.  https://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.4033.3.9 Google Scholar

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Smit, H. (2015c) The water mite family Hygrobatidae Koch in Australia. The genera Aspidiobatella Cook, Australorivacarus Viets, Gondwanabates Imamura and Rhynchaustrobates Cook (Acari: Hydrachnidia). Zootaxa, 4033, 567–583.  https://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.4033.4.7 Google Scholar

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Smit, H. (2015d) A new hygrobatid genus from Australia (Acari: Hydrachnidia: Hygrobatidae). Acarologia, 55, 431–433.  https://doi.org/10.1051/acarologia/20152181 Google Scholar

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Smit, H. (2016a) The water mite family Aturidae Thor, 1900 from Southeast Asia (Acari: Hydrachnidia) with the description of one new genus and 14 new species. Acarologia, 56, 341–365.  https://doi.org/10.1051/acarologia/20162248 Google Scholar

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Smit, H. (2016b) The water mite genus Gretacarus K.O. Viets, 1978 from Australia (Acari: Hydrachnidia, Mideopsidae: Gretacarinae), with the description of three new species. Zootaxa, 4121, 159–166.  https://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.4121.2.5 Google Scholar

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Smit, H. (2016c) The water mite family Aturidae Thor (Acari: Hydrachnidia) from Ghana, with the description of twelve new species. Zootaxa, 4158, 523–543.  https://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.4158.4.5 Google Scholar

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Smit, H. (2016d) A new hydryphantid genus from the Tien Shan Mountains of Kazakhstan (Acari, Hydrachnidia: Hydryphantidae). Zootaxa, 4200, 324–326.  https://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.4200.2.6 Google Scholar

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Smit, H. (2016e) Two new species of the marine water mite family Pontarachnidae from Queensland, Australia (Acari: Hydrachnidia). Marine Biology Research, 12, 206–209. Google Scholar

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Smit, H. (2017a) Notoaturine water mites from New Zealand (Acari: Hydrachnidia: Notoaturinae) with the description of five new species. Zootaxa, 4247, 16–30.  https://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.4247.1.2 Google Scholar

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Smit, H. (2017b) New species of aturid water mites from southern Africa (Acari: Hydrachnidia: Aturidae). Zootaxa, 4273, 287–295.  https://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.4273.2.9 Google Scholar

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Smit, H. (2017c) Water mites from Fuerteventura, Canary Islands, Spain (Acari: Hydrachnidia). Ecologica Montenegrina, 11, 14–19.  https://doi.org/10.37828/em.2017.11.4 Google Scholar

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Smit, H. (2017d) The first description of the female of the water mite genus Sterkspruitia Cook, 2003 (Acari: Hydrachnidia, Hygrobatidae). Acarologia, 57, 689–691.  https://doi.org/10.24349/acarologia/20174188 Google Scholar

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Smit, H. (2018a) A second species of the water mite genus Sinhaladwipabates Gledhill & Wiles, 1997 from Thailand (Acari: Hydrachnidia: Hygrobatidae). Ecologica Montenegrina, 18, 99–101.  https://doi.org/10.37828/em.2018.18.7 Google Scholar

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Smit, H. (2018c) A new species of the genus Decussobates Cook, 1988 from Argentina, with the first description of the male (Acari: Hydrachnidia: Hygrobatidae). Zootaxa, 4471, 182–184.  https://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.4471.1.10 Google Scholar

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Smit, H. (2018d) De Nederlandse watermijten (Acari: Hydrachnidia). Entomologische Tabellen, 11, 1–299. (in Dutch) Google Scholar

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Smit, H. (2019a) The water mite genus Aspidiobates Lundblad, 1941 from Australia (Acari: Hydrachnidia: Hygrobatidae) with the description of two new species. Zootaxa, 4550, 115–122.  https://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.4550.1.5 Google Scholar

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Smit, H. (2019b) New and rare species of hyporheic water mites from New Zealand (Acari: Hydrachnidia: Aturidae, Momoniidae), with the description of two new genera, one new subgenus and one new species. Acarologia, 59, 364–373.  https://doi.org/10.24349/acarologia/20194339 Google Scholar

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Smit, H. (2019c) A short note on three Nilotonia species from Trinidad (Acariformes: Hydrachnidia: Anisitsiellidae). Acarologia, 59, 409–411.  https://doi.org/10.24349/acarologia/20194342 Google Scholar

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Smit, H. (2020a) New records of the water mite genus Arrenurus Dugès, 1834 from South America (Acari: Hydrachnidia: Arrenuridae), with the description of five new species and one new subspecies. Acarologia, 60, 371–389.  https://doi.org/10.24349/acarologia/20204374 Google Scholar

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Smit, H. (2020b) New additions to the water mite fauna of Belgium. Bulletin de la Société royale belge d'Entomologie/Bulletin van de Koninklijke Belgische Vereniging voor Entomologie, 156, 28–34. Google Scholar

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Smit, H. (2021a) New records of water mites from Chile (Acari: Hydrachnidia), with the description of three new species. Acarologia, 61, 274–290.  https://doi.org/10.24349/acarologia/20214430 Google Scholar

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Smit, H. (2021b) The water mite genus Neumania Lebert, 1879 in Australia (Acari: Hydrachnidia). Acarologia, 61, 479–485.  https://doi.org/10.24349/acarologia/20214446 Google Scholar

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Smit, H. (2021c) Water mites from West Africa (Acari: Hydrachnidia). Acarologia, 61, 700–746.  https://doi.org/10.24349/5d6U-DX5N Google Scholar

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Smit, H. (2021d) The water mites of Western Australia (Acari: Hydrachnidia), with the description of 13 new species. Acarologia, 61, 928–966.  https://doi.org/10.24349/2ew3-Djkg Google Scholar

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Smit, H. (2022a) New records of water mites of the family Limnesiidae Thor from Australia (Acari: Hydrachnidia), with the description of seven new species. Acarologia, 62, 193–222.  https://doi.org/10.24349/yu9v-w0lf Google Scholar

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Smit, H. (2022b) A replacement name for Procorticacarus minutus Smit, 2021 (Acari: Hydrachnidia: Hygrobatidae). Ecologica Montenegrina, 51, 64.  https://doi.org/10.37828/em.2022.51.7 Google Scholar

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Reinhard Gerecke and Vladimir Pešić "The backbone of present-day water mite research in The Netherlands: A delayed congratulation to the 70th birthday of Harry Smit," Systematic and Applied Acarology 27(6), 1176-1188, (8 June 2022). https://doi.org/10.11158/saa.27.6.15
Received: 25 March 2022; Accepted: 13 May 2022; Published: 8 June 2022
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