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Melichares | Bee Mite ID

Melichares

 

HARMFUL | NOT HARMFUL | UNCERTAIN

neutral to beneficial; feeds on harmful microarthropods in hives

Name and classification

Melichares Hering, 1838

Taxonomy
Superorder Parasitiformes » Order Mesostigmata » Suborder Monogynaspida » Hyporder Dermanyssiae » Family Melicharidae » Genus Melichares

Type species
Melichares agilis Hering, 1838

Common synonyms
Garmania. In old literature was confused with Blattisocius.

Diagnosis

Female: Dorsal shield entire, not divided, without lateral incisions (Fig. 3). Setae z3 present (Fig. 3). Opisthonotal region of dorsal shield with 14–15 pairs of setae (J, S, Z) (Fig. 3). Idiosoma with 7 or more pairs of marginal setae r-R on soft lateral cuticle (Fig. 3). Metasternal plates absent, st4 situated on soft cuticle (Fig. 5). Adanal setae anterior to hind margin of anus (Figs. 6, 7). Anal shield with 3 circumanal setae only (Figs. 6, 7). Epigynial shield rounded posteriorly (Fig. 4). Peritrematic shield at level of stigma less than twice as wide as diameter of stigma (Fig. 8). Peritrematic shield free posteriorly (Figs. 8, 15). Anterior and posterior rows of deutosternal denticles (small, tooth-like processes) different (Fig. 10). Fixed digit of chelicera with pilus dentilis modified to membranous lobe (sometimes poorly visible) (Fig. 16). Movable digit with ventral mucro (pointed process) near base (Fig. 11). Genu II and III with 11 and 9 setae, respectively (both av1, pv1 present); tibia II usually with 10 setae (pl2 present) (Fig. 13). Legs II–IV with median lobe of pulvillus (membranous, pad-like structure) broadly rounded (Fig. 14).

Species identification

This genus includes two species, but only Melichares agilis has been found in association with bees. This species can be identified using Evans, 1958.

Distribution

Occuring in human-related habitats, Melichares agilis is expected to be a widely distributed, cosmopolitan species. Records from honey bees are from the Western Palaearctic.

Bee hosts

European honey bee, Apis mellifera

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

facultative

Host associations, feeding, and dispersal

  • All stages are predatory on acarid mites (and probably other microarthropods) in different habitats, including honey bee hives.
  • Mites can enter bee nests by walking if a nest is nearby.

Biology

Melichares agilis is known as a widely distributed predator of acarid mites in stored food, particularly dried fruits. This species has also been found in hives of the European honey bee Apis mellifera (Haragsim et al., 1987).