My passion for mites can be traced back to 2006, the first time I saw mites: at the time, I could not recognize those eight-legged creatures and just called them spiders. Later, I took a course in Acarology when I was a junior. I got good grades in that class and, more importantly, learned to appreciate the beauty of mites. My academic performance until then was rather poor, and Entomology not quite my cup of tea. But discovering the secrets of mites took my life in a new direction: my mission became to tell people about those mysterious, fascinating creatures.
When I was a graduate student, my advisor Dr. Chiun-Cheng Ko encouraged me to study mites associated with agriculture, in order to develop a type of plant protection based around them. I found that Phytoseiidae of Taiwan had already been studied in the past, with Yi-Hsiung Tseng having recorded 48 species. All of Tseng’s specimens, however, went missing after his retirement. Therefore, I chose to dedicate my life to studying phytoseiid mites, in the hope of finding among them the native natural enemies of the Tetranychidae, the spider mite pests causing substantial damage to Taiwanese agriculture.
I finished my master’s thesis two years later, and began my military service. It was during that year spent in the navy, trying to figure out my lifetime career goal while on the Pacific Ocean, that I realized mites were my life mission. I therefore went back to NTU to work towards my Ph.D. degree. However, life is not all roses: it took me three attempts to pass the doctoral entrance examination, and I had to drop out of school at one point, after failing the qualifying test. Nevertheless, I was able to finish my degree, thanks to the support of all my family and friends.
I have now published several research articles regarding new or newly-recorded phytoseiid mites in Taiwan. Reporting the Phytoseiidae fauna of Taiwan felt like a responsibility to me. This book contains the currently-recorded phytoseiid mites of Taiwan and neighboring islands, totaling 64 species. I made a small wish to myself that one day I would compile everything we learned and publish a comprehensive list of Taiwanese phytoseiids, so that researchers worldwide can have access to this information about Taiwan. I hope this book will not only contribute to the knowledge of phytoseiid mite biodiversity, but also provide a framework for future biological control use of these predatory mites.