neutral to beneficial; feed on some component of bee larvae feces in nest

Name and classification

Parapygmephorus Cross, 1965

Superorder Acariformes » Order Trombidiformes » Suborder Prostigmata » Infraorder Eleutherengona » Hyporder Heterostigmata » Family Neopygmephoridae » Genus Parapygmephorus

Type species
Parapygmephorus (Parapygmephorus) natalensis Cross, 1965

Common synonyms
Different authors include Sicilipes as a subgenus in Parapygmephorus (accepted here) or treat Sicilipes as a separate genus.


Female: Tergite C not covering prodorsum (Fig. 1). Two pairs of propodosomal dorsal setae, v2 and sc2 (Figs. 1, 4). Leg I four-segmented, with tarsus and tibia I fused forming tibiotarsus (Fig. 1). Two pairs of setae on each coxae I-II (Fig. 2). Claw I large, not striated (Figs. 1, 2). Tarsus IV with claws (Fig. 1). Trochanter IV subquadrate (not triangular) (Fig. 2). In the subgenus Sicilipes, tibiotarsus I widened, distinctly wider than femur and genu I (Fig. 2), while in Parapygmephorus it is not distinctly wider.

Species identification

A dichotomous key is available in Fan et al., 2014, which excludes species classified in the subgenus Sicilipes.


Parapygmephorus (s. str.) and Sicilipes found in association with bees: Neotropical region (Costa Rica and Mexico), Palaearctic region (Ukraine, Russia, Egypt, North Korea, Afghanistan, Japan, and Iran); Afrotropical region (South Africa), Australian region (New Zealand), and Nearctic region (United States).

Bee hosts

Typically associated with ground-nesting bees of the families Halictidae (Nomia, Lipotriches, Halictus, Agapostemon, Sphecodes [a kleptoparasite], and Augochlora) and Colletidae (Leioproctus and Paracolletes). One record is from the orchard mason bee Osmia rufa.

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 bees, where they possibly feed on some component or contaminant of bee larva feces.
  • Mite females disperse on adult host bees (preferring female bees) or their kleptoparasites (i.e., Sphecodes).


Mites of the genus Parapygmephorus (sensu stricto) and the subgenus Sicilipes are associated with ground-nesting halictid and colletid bees, although a single species (P. undosus Rack, 1980) was found on a pompilid wasp, and host associations of another (P. (S.) fengxiannus) are unclear.

Biological observations are available only for a single species, Parapygmephorus costaricanus, associated with the ground nesting halictid bee Agapostemon nasutus in Costa Rica (Rack and Eickwort, 1980). The life cycles of both the bee and the mite are known in detail, but the food source of P. costaricanus is not known with certainty.