Mites are important detritivores in the modern terrestrial ecosystem and mite body fossils have been described as early as the Devonian. Evidence of wood-boring mites is known from the Early Carboniferous to the Quaternary in the form of tunnels preserved in permineralized or petrified wood. In many cases, these tunnels contain coprolites whose size and shape identifies them as being produced by mites (Acari). Although mites were widespread wood borers during the Carboniferous, by the Late Triassic insects appear to have taken over as the dominant wood borers. Insect wood borers are believed to have evolved in the Early Permian and they continue as the dominant agent in this syndrome in modern ecosystems. From the Early Permian to the Late Triassic, however, there are no reports of wood-borers, while in the Jurassic and Cretaceous, there are very few records. We describe here evidence of mite wood boring that fills this important evolutionary "gap." Late Permian, Middle Triassic and Middle Jurassic permineralized peats from the central Transantarctic Mountains, Antarctica have yielded wood containing tunnels and coprolites preserved within them. The coprolites fall into 5 size classes: 1 in the Permian, 2 in the Triassic and 2 in the Jurassic. With the possible exception of the largest coprolites from the Jurassic peat, all are within the size range produced by modern and fossil mites. All coprolites are circular to ovoid in shape and vary in their texture from slightly compact with abundant recognizable tracheids (Permian) to densely compact with no recognizable elements (2 Jurassic size classes and 1 Triassic class). The significance of this material to our understanding of wood-boring through time is discussed with regard to the presumed change from mite-dominated detritivory in the Paleozoic to an insect-dominated syndrome in the Mesozoic and Cenozoic.

Key words: Antarctica, Jurassic, Permian, plant/animal interactions, Triassic, wood-boring mites