species in honey and bumble bee nests probably neutral to beneficial; predatory on microarthropods in nest; species in stingless bee nests not well known

Name and classification

Hypoaspis Canestrini, 1884

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

Type species
Gamasus krameri G. & R. Canestrini, 1881


Systematics of this genus is unsettled and in need of revision, using both morphology and molecular data.

Females of bee-associated species of Hypoaspis can be diagnosed based mostly on general (and probably plesiomorphic) traits as follows: Dorsal idiosoma and opisthosomal venter not hypertrichous (Figs 1, 2). Marginal idiosomal setae with pointed ends (Figs 1, 2). Epigynal and anal shields well separated (except for Hypoaspis favosa, where they are nearly touching each other) (Figs 2, 9). Sternal shield not expanded anteriorly and does not form a tubercle (Figs 7, 8). Anterior edge of sternal shield simple, not forming additional shield (Fig. 7). Posterior margin of sternal shield not deeply concave (variable in non-bee-associated species) (Fig. 7). Presternal shields not fused with sternal shield (Fig. 8). Epigynal shield not narrowing posteriorly and not pointed; anal shield not kidney-shaped (Fig. 9). Peritrematic shield extends beyond stigma (Fig. 12). Width of stigma subequal to base of tritosternum (=stigma not enlarged) (Fig. 12). Peritremes long, extending anteriorly beyond legs II (Fig. 13).

Species of Hypoaspis known from bees by can be grouped as follows:

  • Group 1. Nests of honey bees and bumble bees. Typical Hypoaspis s. lat. (see diagnosis above). Represented by Hypoaspis asperatus, Hypoaspis lubrica, Hypoaspis heselhausi. These species are classified either in the subgenus Gaeolaelaps (Evans and Till, 1966; Bregetova, 1977a) or Pneumolaelaps (asperatus and lubrica) and Laelaspis (heselhausi) (Karg, 1982). In a recent review of Gaeolaelaps, lubrica and heselhausi were removed from Gaeolaelaps based on the fimbriate tectum (denticulate in Gaeolaelaps) (Beaulieu, 2009).
  • Group 2. Nests of stingless bees. Setae st1 situated on a single presternal shield (two presternal shields fused together). Posterior margin of epigynal shield near anal shield. Represented by H. favosa.
  • Group 3. Nests of stingless bees. Anal shield with characteristic anterior margin straight or concave. Represented by H. alphabetica, H. hoffmannae, H. meliponarum, and undescribed species illustrated here (Figs 1-20). Furthermore, the two species from Asian stingless bees (H. hoffmannae and the undescribed species) have a single tooth on each row of deutosternal groove (Figs 16, 18, 20) and enlarged pilus dentilis (Fig. 17). These traits warrant establishment of a new genus. Unfortunately, these character states are unknown for the Neotropical species.


Holarctic (Group 1); Neotropical region (Group 2), Neotropical and Oriental regions (Groups 2 and 3).

Bee hosts

honey bees (Apis), bumble bees (Bombus), and stingless bees (Meliponini)

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

group 1 facultative; groups 2 and 3 probably permanent

Host associations, feeding, and dispersal

group 1 (see Diagnosis)

  • All stages are probably predatory on microarthropods in different habitats, including nests of honey bees and bumble bees.
  • Short-range dispersal can be accomplished by walking.

groups 2, 3

  • All stages live in nests of stingless bees. Feeding habits are unknown.
  • Dispersal has not been documented, but female mites may be phoretic on adult bees.


unknown for bee-associated mites