Ereynetes

 

HARMFUL | NOT HARMFUL | UNCERTAIN

neutral to marginally beneficial; feeds on small invertebrates in bee nests

Name and classification

Ereynetes Berlese, 1883

Taxonomy
Superorder Acariformes » Order Trombidiformes » Suborder Prostigmata » Infraorder Eupodina » Family Ereynetidae » Genus Ereynetes

Type species
Acarus limacum non Linnaeus, 1758 (=Ereynetes galeatus Berlese, 1923)

Distribution

Nearctic, Palaearctic, Neotropical, Oriental, Australian, and Afrotropical regions. Bee-associated species have been found in the Nearctic and Neotropical regions.

Bee hosts

Mites of bee hosts found in nests only: Melipona scutellaris and Nomia melanderi.

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 live in a variety of habitats (soil, dung, galleries of bark beetles, organic substances, and nests of bees) where they feed on small invertebrates.
  • Female mites, and occasionally nymphs, may disperse on insect hosts (not recorded for bees).

Biology

This genus includes five subgenera and 51 species of free-living predators that live in mosses, lichens, leaf litter, bat guano, dung, scarabaeid beetles, nests of mammals and birds, rotting wood, galleries of bark beetles, and under bark (Fain and Camerik, 1994). Two subgenera and two species have been found in nests of bees: Ereynetes (Anereynetes) meliponae Flechtmann, Fain, and Leal, 1985 (ex Melipona scutellaris, Brazil) and Ereynetes (Ereynetes) boharti Hunter and Cross, 1968 (ex Nomia melanderi, USA). They are probably not specific to bees and may come from the outside environment in search of prey (small invertebrates). For example, Ereynetes boharti preys on acarid mites Sancassania boharti normally occurring in nests of bees of the genus Nomia.

Females or nymphs of some species have been found phoretic on dung beetles, flies, and darkwinged fungus gnats (Fain and Camerik, 1994). A few species are permanent associates of hermit crabs (Coenobita).