lives in bee nests; details of biology unknown

Name and classification

Trigonholaspis Vitzthum, 1930

Superorder Parasitiformes » Order Mesostigmata » Suborder Monogynaspida » Hyporder Dermanyssiae » Family Macrochelidae » Genus Trigonholaspis

Type species
Trigonholaspis salti Vitzthum, 1930

Common synonyms
Grafia Krantz, 1962


Female: Claws or ambulacra on leg I absent but present on tarsi II-IV (Fig. 1). Two brushes present at base of movable digit (Fig. 2). Peritreme looped and enters stigma posteriorly (Figs. 2, 4). Trigonholaspis can be distinguished from all other macrochelid genera by the presence of four pairs of opisthonotal dorsocentral setae (J1, J2, J3, J5) (Fig. 1) and by the presence of dorsal "hump" on the idiosoma (Fig. 1). In other macrochelids, there are two, rarely three, pairs of opisthonotal dorsocentral setae and the "hump" is absent.

Species identification

The four known species, all from the nest of Trigona amalthea (Apidae: Meliponini) from Colombia, can be identified using the original descriptions (Vitzthum, 1930). In addition, there is a relatively large number of undescribed species. For example, five new species have been reported from Brazil (Krantz, 1998b) and one from Panama (our data).


Neotropical region

Bee hosts

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


Host associations, feeding, and dispersal

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


The biology of this group is virtually unknown. Salt reported his observations on several species of Trigonholaspis associated with Trigona amalthea (Salt, 1929), though multiple mite species were likely present. He found that Trigonholaspis was very abundant on combs but not on pollen- and honey-pots. In a few cases, mites were found inside closed cells. Of them, one mite was attached to the middle leg of the bee pupa.