probably kleptoparasitic; feeds on pollen and nectar in bee nests

Name and classification


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

Type species
Xylocolaelaps burgetti Royce and Krantz, 2003


Female: Peritremes typical, extending anteriorly beyond legs II (Figs. 1, 2). Sternal setae st3 situated on sternal shield (Figs. 1, 3). Stigmata not enlarged: width of stigmatic field subequal to base of tritosternum (Fig. 2). Unpaired setae on posterior opisthosoma absent, as in type species, or present.

Species identification

This genus includes a single described species, Xylocolaelaps burgetti. In addition, at least one undescribed species is known (our data).

Similar genera

Pneumolaelaps. Xylocolaelaps can be distinguished from Pneumolaelaps by its sternal setae st3 not extending (Fig. 3) or slightly extending beyond bases of setae st4 as in Xylocolaelaps burgetti; in Pneumolaelaps, st3 are longer and distinctly extend beyond bases of st4. Peritrematic shields do not extend beyond stigmata posteriorly in Xylocolaelaps (Fig. 2), while in Pneumolaelaps these shields extend beyond stigmata.

Stigmatolaelaps. Xylocolaelaps can be distinguished from Stigmatolaelaps by stigmatic fields not being enlarged (enlarged in Stigmatolaelaps).


Oriental and African regions.

Bee hosts

large carpenter bees (Xylocopa)

Host association level


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


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


Host associations, feeding, and dispersal

  • All stages live in nests of bees.
  • Females disperse on adult bees.


These mites are probably kleptoparasitic, feeding on pollen and nectar stored in the nest of its carpenter bee host as food for the larvae. In X. burgetti adult females are probably phoretic on female bee hosts. The lack of observation of phoretic females may be attributed to the fact that phoresy may be relatively rare because in the mite's host, Xylocopa tranquebarica, daughters of founding bees share the nest with their mothers for an extended period of time (Royce and Krantz, 2003). This trait of natural history of the host bee eliminates the need for frequent mite dispersal. We found an undescribed species of Xylocolaelaps phoretic on Xylocopa nigrita in Africa, confirming the original hypothesis (Royce and Krantz, 2003) of female phoresy in this genus.