Uropodina

 

HARMFUL | NOT HARMFUL | UNCERTAIN

considered neutral to beneficial; most species feed on nematodes and other small invertebrates

Name and classification

Infraorder Uropodina

Taxonomy
Superorder Parasitiformes » Order Mesostigmata » Suborder Monogynaspida » Infraorder Uropodina

Diagnosis

Deutonymph and Adult: Coxae I greatly enlarged, partially or entirely covering base of tritosternum (Figs. 2, 3). Stigmata situated between legs II and III (Fig. 2).

Species identification

Genera should be identified using a key in Hirschmann, 1993, with updates from Halliday, 2015. Species should be identified using references summarized in Wiƛniewski and Hirschmann, 1993. Regional keys to species are available for Central Europe (Karg, 1989) and the former USSR (Kadite and Petrova, 1977).

The following families and genera of the infraorder Uropodina are known from bees or their nests: Trachytidae (Uroseius), Trematuridae (Trematura, Trichouropoda, Trichosociata, and Pseuduropoda), Uroactiniidae (Uroactinia), Urodinychidae (Uroobovella, Uroobovella (Fuscouropoda)), and Uropodidae (Uropoda).

The systematics of this group is poorly developed and very complicated (Halliday, 2015). For this reason we do not treat this group further in this tool and advise users consult a specialist for specimen identification.

Distribution

Cosmopolitan. Mites associated with bees have been found in the Neotropical, Palaearctic, Oriental, and Australian regions.

Bee hosts

honey bees (Apis), bumble bees (Bombus), orchid bees (Euglossa), and stingless bees of the genus Melipona

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 for majority of species associated with bees; unknown for species associated with euglossine bees

Host associations, feeding, and dispersal

  • All stages of generalist species can be found together in several habitats, including bee nests.
  • Species associated with euglossine bees may form permanent associations with their bee hosts.
  • Mite deutonymphs are phoretic on adult insect hosts, including bees. They attach to hosts by secreting an elastic pedicel.

Biology

Mites belonging to the infraorder Uropodina are very common and abundant in forest litter, dung and carrion, decaying plant materials, stored food, moss, and under stones, in ant and bee nests, and in vertebrate nests and burrows. Most species are probably generalist predators feeding on nematodes or other small invertebrates, but others may feed on living and dead fungi and plant tissue (Lindquist et al., 2009). Phoretic deutonymphs in this group have been collected on bees and all stages collected in nests. Nothing is known about their biology, but the majority of Uropodina species are not parasitic (except for some ant associates). Thus, the group is generally considered to be harmless. Some species regularly occur on euglossine bees (Fig. 5) and may develop specialization for their bee hosts.