Eur. J. Entomol. 106 (4): 545-550, 2009 | DOI: 10.14411/eje.2009.068

Mesostigmatid mites associated with the dung beetle Copris lunaris (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae)

Peter MA©ÁN1, Bruce HALLIDAY2
1 Institute of Zoology, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Dúbravská cesta 9, SK-84506 Bratislava, Slovakia; e-mail: uzaepema@savba.sk
2 CSIRO Entomology, GPO Box 1700, Canberra ACT 2601, Australia; e-mail: Bruce.Halliday@csiro.au

We examined the mesostigmatid mites found in four nest chambers of the dung beetle Copris lunaris (Scarabaeidae) in Slovakia. A total of 763 mites was found, belonging to ten species. The most frequent and abundant species were Pelethiphis opacus, Macrocheles copridis, Parasitus copridis, Uropoda copridis, Copriphis pterophilus, and Onchodellus hispani. The nests contained 19 dung balls, each enclosing a beetle pupa. Altogether 472 mites were found in these brood balls. A further 291 mites were found on the parental beetles in the nests. Three mite species were clearly more abundant in brood balls than on parental beetles, and these belonged to the life cycle stage that disperses by phoresy. The mites found in brood balls apparently disperse on the young adult beetles when they emerge. Only Parasitus copridis was more abundant on parental beetles than in brood balls. Different species of mites have developed different strategies for dispersal, as shown by their preferential attachment to either the parental or progeny generations of beetles.

Keywords: Acari, mites, Mesostigmata, phoresy, Copris lunaris, Slovakia

Received: February 27, 2009; Accepted: July 3, 2009; Published: November 20, 2009

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