Bisternalis

 

HARMFUL | NOT HARMFUL | UNCERTAIN

biology not known

Name and classification

Bisternalis Hunter, 1963

Taxonomy
Superorder Parasitiformes » Order Mesostigmata » Suborder Monogynaspida » Hyporder Dermanyssiae » Family Laelapidae » Genus Bisternalis

Type species
Bisternalis rettenmeyeri Hunter, 1963

Diagnosis

Female: Epigynal shield narrows posteriorly (can be pointed or bilobed at tip) (Figs. 2, 5). Anal shield with anterior-lateral horn-like projections (Figs. 2, 5). Anterior part of sternal shield is completely (e.g., Bisternalis rettenmeyeri) or partially (e.g., Bisternalis mexicanus) separated from the remaining sternal shield (Figs. 3, 4), hence the name of this genus. However, in one species, Bisternalis camargoi, the anterior part of sternal shield is not separated.

Species identification

The most recent dichotomous key to species is available in Baker et al., 1984.

Similar genera

Similar to the genera Holostaspis (oophagous in ant nests) and Myrmozercon (intimate associates of ants) by their large epigynal shield that narrows posteriorly (in many species) and anal shield concave anteriorly (in many species).

Bisternalis differs from Holostaspis and Myrmozercon by the anterior part of its sternal shield that is completely (e.g., Bisternalis rettenmeyeri) or partially (e.g., Bisternalis mexicanus) separated from the remaining sternal shield (Figs. 3, 4). However, in one species, Bisternalis camargoi, the sternal shield is typical (undivided), but its epigynal shield is pointed posteriorly (never pointed in Holostaspis).

Bisternalis differs from Myrmozercon by the presence of well-developed claws (reduced or absent in Myrmozercon) and the presence of denticles (small, tooth-like processes) on cheliceral digits (not developed in Myrmozercon).

Distribution

Neotropical region.

Bee hosts

stingless bees (Lestrimelitta, Trigona, Melipona, and Partamona)

Host association level

Permanent

associated exclusively with bees or their close relative, wasps; cannot live without these hosts

Temporary

some life stages are associated with bees, while others are not

Facultative or opportunistic

can complete entire life cycle without bees or their close relative, wasps

permanent

Host associations, feeding, and dispersal

  • Adults and immatures live in nests of meliponine (stingless) bees.
  • Dispersal on adult bees is not documented, but possible.