kleptoparasitic; feeds on provisioned pollen in brood cells, where it may cause no harm or may reduce fitness of developing bees due to competition for food

Name and classification

Laelaspoides Eickwort, 1966

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

Type species
Laelaspoides ordwayae Eickwort, 1966

Species identification

This genus contains a single described species, Laelaspoides ordwayae.

Similar genera

Pneumolaelaps and Hypoaspis sensu Evans and Till (Evans and Till, 1979).

Laelaspoides can be distinguished from both these genera: its presternal shields are fused with its sternal shield (Figs. 2, 3). In Pneumolaelaps and Hypoaspis presternal shields are not fused with the sternal shield.

Laelaspoides Eickwort, 1966 was synonymized with Pseudoparasitus (Farrier and Hennessey, 1993) probably because the spelling of the former was confused with a very similar spelling of a different genus, Laelapsoides Willmann, 1952, which is an accepted junior synonym of Pseudoparasitus. Laelaspoides and Pseudoparasitus are strikingly different. For example, in Pseudoparasitus the epigynal shield has 4 or more pairs of setae while that of Laelaspoides has only one pair.


Known from the USA (Eickwort, 1966) and Costa Rica (our data).

Bee hosts

halictid bee Augochlorella

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 Augochlorella bees, where they feed on pollen.
  • Females disperse on adult bees.


Biology was described for the single species in the genus, Laelaspoides ordwayae, in Eickwort, 1966. Laelaspoides ordwayae is known from associations with two ground-nesting halictid bees, Augochlorella striata and Augochlorella persimilis, in Kansas. All stages except for larvae are abundant in the nest cells of the bees and are encountered more rarely in the cell cluster cavity of the nests. The larval period is either short, with the larvae molting into protonymphs soon after hatching, or the mite is nymphiparous, passing the larval stage within the female. After hibernation and before the bees start to build nests, the mites disperse on bees via phoresy, primarily by holding onto the hairs of the host. The mites probably enter the nest cells as the cells are being provisioned, reproduce there, then leave the cells as the young emerging bees open them and enter other cells as they are provisioned. The mites eat pollen and apparently do not harm the bee larvae directly (Eickwort, 1966), but they may reduce fitness of the developing bee due to competition for food.