Multivariate Diagnostics of Cryptic Species of Bee Mites
Pavel Klimov ©
University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, 1109 Geddes Ave., Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1079 USA
Several bee mites are cryptic species. They do not have any obvious recognition characters to set them apart from the general species population. However, cryptic species are sexually isolated and often have different bee hosts. It is very important to recognize cryptic species of bee mites because each of them might interact with the host in different ways. Some parasitic mites can be very harmful if they occur on a bee other than their primary host. Such host shifts can be facilitated by the mite or bee behavior, bee parasites, or by humans in artificial settings.
Thus, the accurate identification of cryptic species associated with bees is imperative to monitor for host shifts onto economically important bee species and to assess their long-term effect on the bee welfare.
On the other hand, some mites are advantageous for bees, as the case of Cheletophyes preying on cleptoparasitic mites in the bee nests.
Chaetodactylus (Chaetodactylidae) associated with bees of the genus Osmia, subgenus Cephalosmia (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae)
Chaetodactylus (Chaetodactylidae) associated with bees of the genus Lithurgus (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae) in North America
Cheletophyes (Cheyletidae) associated with large African carpenter bees, Xylocopa nigrita and Xylocopa torrida (Hymenoptera: Apidae). Canonical variates analysis
Cheletophyes (Cheyletidae) associated with large African carpenter bees, Xylocopa nigrita and Xylocopa torrida (Hymenoptera: Apidae). Logistic regression model
Sennertia frontalis group (Chaetodactylidae) associated with large carpenter bees, Xylocopa spp. (Hymenoptera: Apidae) in the New World. Logistic regression model
On photo: Megachilid bee, Lithurgus echinocacti covered with mites of the genus Chaetodactylus abditus. Lithurgus echinocacti is the major pollinator of barrel cactuses (Ferocactus) in Arizona. There are three cryptic species of Chaetodactylus associated with cactus-pollinating Lithurgus in the United States.