probably neutral; generally prefers feeding on dead bees

Name and classification

Aeroglyphus Zachvatkin, 1941

Superorder Acariformes » Order Sarcoptiformes » Suborder Oribatida » Infraorder Desmonomata » Hyporder Astigmata » Family Aeroglyphidae » Genus Aeroglyphus

Type species
Glycyphagus peregrinans Berlese, 1892.


Adult: Prodorsum with external vertical setae ve present (Fig. 3). Ventral subcapitulum without external ridges (fig. 4). Opisthosoma with a row of small, closely spaced microtrichiae (small hair- or tooth-like processes) extending between the bases of most lateral body setae (Fig 5). Cuticle sometimes with larger irregular protuberances. Most dorsal setae, including c1, elongate and heavily barbed (Fig. 5). Pretarsal ambulacra short, relatively simple (Fig. 12). Empodial claws present, claw-like, simple (Fig. 12). Anus positioned near posterior margin of body (Fig. 7). Tarsi III-IV without an elongate, scale-like basal seta (Fig. 2). Male without a sclerotized plate posterior to aedeagus (Fig. 11). Setae ps3 in soft cuticle (Fig. 11).

Species identification

The two known species, Aeroglyphus peregrinans and Aeroglyphus robustus, can be identified using redescriptions in Cooreman, 1959.


Aeroglyphus robustus: Nearctic region (common), Palaearctic; Aeroglyphus peregrinans: SE Palaearctic: Europe and North Africa. An undescribed species has been collected from an Apis mellifera colony in South Africa (personal observation).

Bee hosts

Phoretic feeding stages of Aeroglyphus peregrinans have been found on large carpenter bees (Xylocopa) (most frequently), bumble bee Bombus lapidarius, and European honey bee Apis mellifera. Colonies of both Aeroglyphus peregrinans and Aeroglyphus robustus have been found in nests of the European honey bee, Apis mellifera.

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

facultative (Aeroglyphus robustus) or permanent (Aeroglyphus peregrinans)

Host associations, feeding, and dispersal

Aeroglyphus robustus, generalist

  • All stages live in peridomestic habitats (e.g., stored food), but they can invade hives of honey bees, where they show a preference toward feeding on dead bees.
  • Phoretic deutonymphs are absent. Feeding stages disperse by active movements or on host; phoresy on a wasp has been recorded.

Aeroglyphus peregrinans, bee-specialist

  • All stages presumably live in bee nests.
  • Phoretic deutonymphs are absent. Feeding stages disperse on large carpenter bees (most frequently) (Fig. 13), bumble bees, or honey bees.


This genus contains two species that differ in habitat. Aeroglyphus robustus is considered a pest of stored grain, though it is probably a habitat generalist, preferring dry materials. It occurs in stored wheat, oats, and barley, stored grain, soybean, hay, nests of birds, beeswax culture of moth Galleria mellonella, on dead insects, and in beehives (of Apis mellifera) inside queen cells containing a dead queen (Delfinado-Baker and Baker, 1982a).

In contrast, Aeroglyphus peregrinans is a bee specialist and has never been found in other habitats. It disperses as feeding stages on large carpenter bees, bumble bees, and honey bees and probably lives in nests of these hosts (documented only for the honey bee Apis mellifera (Grobov, 1978)). A few literature records suggest that in beehives, both mite species prefer feeding on dead bees (Delfinado-Baker and Baker, 1982a; Grobov, 1978), but the cause of death is unknown for these bees. Early authors (Blattný, 1924) suggested that Aeroglyphus peregrinans (as well as species of Glycyphagus) can switch from being saprophagous on dead bees to parasitic and, thus, irritate bees.