Citrus rust mites live on both leaf surfaces and on fruit skin. Feeding by Phyllocoptruta oleivora, probably owing to salivary injections, causes epidermal cells to collapse. Fruit skin turns silvery, reddish, or black. On grapefruit and lemons the feeding results in a silvered or ‘sharkskin’ appearance. Rind of silvered fruit is thicker than on undamaged fruit, and silvered fruit loses water faster than undamaged fruit. One result of mite damage is small fruit, which not only appears substandard, but also deteriorates rapidly. Heavy populations of the rust mite cause bronzing of leaves and green twigs, and general loss of vitality of the whole tree.
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