Pyemotes tritici (Lagrèze-Fossat and Montané, 1851). Photograph by Eric Erbe; digital colorization by Chris Pooley. Identification by Ronald Ochoa title=
Fig. 1. Pyemotes tritici (Lagrèze-Fossat and Montané, 1851). Photograph by Eric Erbe; digital colorization by Chris Pooley. Identification by Ronald Ochoa. Click to enlarge

Bee Mites : Acari : Acariformes : Trombidiformes : Pyemotidae : Pyemotes

Pyemotes tritici (Lagrèze-Fossat and Montané, 1851)

Acarus tritici Lagrèze-Fossat and Montané, 1851: 41.
Pediculoides tritici: Oudemans, 1936: 394
Pyemotes tritici: Oudemans, 1937: V; Cross & Moser, 1975: 724 (included in key; synonymized with Pyemotes boylei; Menezes at al., 2009: 630; Cross & Moser, 1971: 182 (included in key).
Pyemotes boylei Krczal, 1959: 150, Figs 1-2 (synonymized by Cross & Moser, 1975).

Hosts. Insects of various orders. In Brazil, the following managed stingless bee species were attacked (Menezes at al., 2009):

Tetragonisca angustula (Latreille, 1811)
Frieseomelitta varia (Lepeletier, 1836)
Melipona subnitida Ducke, 1911
Melipona asilvai Moure, 1971.

Eickwort (1988) suggested that records of P. venticosus attacking honeybees may refer to Pyemotes tritici, see Notes for Pyemotes venticosus.

Distribution. Cosmopolitan (Moser et al. 1987), including USA: Hawaii, Georgia, Louisiana, Kansas; Mexico: Sonora; Cuba (Cross & Moser, 1975); Brazil (Menezes at al., 2009); France (type locality), Iran (Kamali et al. 2001).

Biology. P. tritici, may produce severe skin lesions, asthma, or nausea in humans. It has also been shown to have great potential as a biological control agent for insect pests (Kethley, 1982). Its effectiveness as a parasitoid results from several characteristics (Bruce, 1989):

(1) high reproductive potential;
(2) short life-cycle (4-7 days);
(3) no intermediate hosts or food sources required-- all development occurs within the opisthosomal sac of the adult female and all offspring are born live as sexually mature adults;
(4) only females are parasitic and represent about 90-95% of the population;
(5) females mate immediately at birth and begin host-seeking activity;
(6) populations are easily reared and synchronized in the laboratory; and (7) they are cosmopolitan in distribution.

Control. Pyemotes tritici, was reported to kill four colonies of stingless bees Tetragonisca an­gustula and one colony of Frieseomelitta varia in Brazil. The infestation was terminated by isolating the dead colonies from the meliponary (Menezes at al., 2009).

Bruce, W. A. 1989. Artificial diet for the parasitic mite Pyemotes tritici (Acari, Pyemotidae). Experimental & Applied Acarology.6: 11-18.
Cross, E. A., J. C. Moser & G. Rack. 1981. Some new forms of Pyemotes (Acarina: Pyemotidae) from forest insects, with remarks on polymorphism. International Journal of Acarology.7: 179-196.
Cross, E. A. & J. S. Moser. 1975. A new, dimorphic species of Pyemotes and a key to previously-described forms (Acarina: Tarsonemoidea). Annals of the Entomological Society of America.68: 723-732.
Eickwort, G. C. 1990. Mites: An Overview. In Honey Bee Pests, Predators and Diseases, 2nd edition, eds. R. Morse & R. Nowogrodzki, 188-199. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
Kamali, K., H. Ostovan & A. Atamehr. 2001. A Catalog of Mites and Ticks (Acari) of Iran. Islamic Azad University Scientific Publication Center. 196 pp.
Kethley, J. B. 1982. Prostigmata. In Synopsis and Classification of Living Organisms, ed. S. P. Parker, 117-145. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Krczal, H. 1959. Pyemotes boylei, eine neue Pyemotide aus Hawai. Zoologische Anzeiger.163: 148-152.
Lagrèze-Fossat, M. A. & M. R.-J. Montané. 1851. Observations microscopiques sur la mite du blé. Recueil agronomique publié par les soins de la Société des sciences, agriculture et belles-lettres du département de Tarn-et-Garonne.32: 37-64.
Menezes, C., A. Coletto-Silva, G. S. Gazeta & W. E. Kerr. 2009. Infestation by Pyemotes tritici (Acari, Pyemotidae) caused death of stingless bee colonies (Hymenoptera: Meliponina). Genetics and Molecular Research.8: 630-634.
Moser, J. C., R. L. Smiley & I. S. Otvos. 1987. A new Pyemotes (Acari: Pyemotidae) reared from the Douglas fir cone moth. International Journal of Acarology.13: 141-147.
Oudemans, A. C. 1936. Neues über Pediculoides Targ. Tozz. 1878 In Festschrift zum 60. geburtstage von professor dr. Embrik Strand. Ordinarius für Zoologie und Direktor des Systematisch-Zoologischen Instituts und der Hydrobiologischen Station der Universität Lettlands, Riga; Dr. rer. nat. h. c., M.A.N., F.R.E.S., F.L.S., F.Z.S., etc. Vol. 1, ed. E. Strand, 391-404. Riga: Izdevniecība "Latvija".
Oudemans, A. C. 1937. No title. Tijdschrift voor Entomologie.80: IV-XVI.

Image Gallery
Pyemotes tritici (Lagrèze-Fossat and Montané, 1851). Photograph by Eric Erbe; digital colorization by Chris Pooley. Identification by Ronald Ochoa
Pyemotes tritici



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Created: April 30, 2012
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