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      Standard methods for Tropilaelaps mites research

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      Journal of Apicultural Research
      International Bee Research Association

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          Deformed wing virus associated with Tropilaelaps mercedesae infesting European honey bees (Apis mellifera).

          Mites in the genus Tropilaelaps (Acari: Laelapidae) are ectoparasites of the brood of honey bees (Apis spp.). Different Tropilaelaps subspecies were originally described from Apis dorsata, but a host switch occurred to the Western honey bee, Apis mellifera, for which infestations can rapidly lead to colony death. Tropilaelaps is hence considered more dangerous to A. mellifera than the parasitic mite Varroa destructor. Honey bees are also infected by many different viruses, some of them associated with and vectored by V. destructor. In recent years, deformed wing virus (DWV) has become the most prevalent virus infection in honey bees associated with V. destructor. DWV is distributed world-wide, and found wherever the Varroa mite is found, although low levels of the virus can also be found in Varroa free colonies. The Varroa mite transmits viral particles when feeding on the haemolymph of pupae or adult bees. Both the Tropilaelaps mite and the Varroa mite feed on honey bee brood, but no observations of DWV in Tropilaelaps have so far been reported. In this study, quantitative real-time RT-PCR was used to show the presence of DWV in infested brood and Tropilaelaps mercedesae mites collected in China, and to demonstrate a close quantitative association between mite-infested pupae of A. mellifera and DWV infections. Phylogenetic analysis of the DWV sequences recovered from matching pupae and mites revealed considerable DWV sequence heterogeneity and polymorphism. These polymorphisms appeared to be associated with the individual brood cell, rather than with a particular host.
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            Mite Pests of Honey Bees

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              Genetic and morphological variation of bee-parasitic Tropilaelaps mites (Acari: Laelapidae): new and re-defined species.

              Mites in the genus Tropilaelaps are parasites of social honeybees. Two species, Tropilaelaps clareae and T. koenigerum, have been recorded and their primary hosts are presumed to be the giant honeybees of Asia, Apis dorsata and A. laboriosa. The most common species, T. clareae, is also an economically important pest of the introduced Western honeybee (A. mellifera) throughout Asia and is considered an emerging threat to world apiculture. In the studies reported here, genetic (mtDNA CO-I and nuclear ITS1-5.8S-ITS2 gene sequence) and morphological variation and host associations were examined among Tropilaelaps isolates collected from A. dorsata, A. laboriosa and A. mellifera throughout Asia and neighbouring regions. The results clearly indicate that the genus contains at least four species. Tropilaelaps clareae, previously assumed to be ubiquitous in Asia, was found to be two species, and it is here redefined as encompassing haplotypes (mites with distinct mtDNA gene sequences) that parasitise native A. dorsata breviligula and introduced A. mellifera in the Philippines and also native A. d. binghami on Sulawesi Island in Indonesia. Tropilaelaps mercedesae n. sp., which until now has been mistaken for T. clareae, encompasses haplotypes that, together with haplotypes of T. koenigerum, parasitise native A. d. dorsata in mainland Asia and Indonesia (except Sulawesi Island). It also parasitises introduced A. mellifera in these and surrounding regions and, with another new species, T. thaii n. sp., also parasitises A. laboriosa in mountainous Himalayan regions. Methods are described for identifying each species. These studies help to clarify the emerging threat of Tropilaelaps to world apiculture and will necessitate a revision of quarantine protocols for countries that import and export honeybees.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Journal of Apicultural Research
                Journal of Apicultural Research
                International Bee Research Association
                0021-8839
                2078-6913
                April 02 2015
                April 02 2015
                : 52
                : 4
                : 1-16
                Article
                10.3896/IBRA.1.52.4.21
                507541d9-2ff9-49b9-9335-bcccb3b52b1f
                © 2015
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