Tropilaelaps mercedesae: does this honey bee brood mite parasite exhibit a sex preference when infesting brood of the adapted host Apis dorsata?
Ninat Buawangpong, Kitiphong Khongphinitbunjong, Panuwan Chantawannakul and Michael Burgett
Acarine brood parasites associated with the honey bee genus Apis are found in two families; Varroidae and Laelapidae. When infesting their indigenous honey bee host species, varroid mites (Varroa spp. and Euvarroa spp.) are essentially restricted to parasitizing drone (male) brood. When infesting the European honey bee species Apis mellifera, a non-adapted, alternate host, Varroa is known to exhibit a preference for drone brood over worker (female) brood (Issa and Goncalves, 1984), presumably because the parasite would have an augmented intrinsic rate of increase (“r”) due to the longer pupal period of the A. mellifera male host (Martin, 1995). Curiously, Euvarroa spp. brood parasites of the dwarf honey bee species A. florea and A. andreniformis, have only rarely been shown to parasitize A. mellifera (Mossadegh, 1990). The laelapid mite Tropilaelaps mercedesae utilizes the Asian giant honey bee Apis dorsata as its adapted host. T. mercedesae is also able to exploit the European honey bee as an alternate, non-adapted host, to such a degree that it has become the most serious acarine parasite wherever A. mellifera has been introduced into Southeast Asia (Oldroyd and Wongsiri, 2006; Anderson and Morgan, 2007).
Tropilaelaps mercedesae, Apis dorsata, parasitic mites, brood, sex preference