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      Host Specificity in the Honeybee Parasitic Mite, Varroa spp. in Apis mellifera and Apis cerana

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          The ectoparasitic mite Varroa destructor is a major global threat to the Western honeybee Apis mellifera. This mite was originally a parasite of A. cerana in Asia but managed to spill over into colonies of A. mellifera which had been introduced to this continent for honey production. To date, only two almost clonal types of V. destructor from Korea and Japan have been detected in A. mellifera colonies. However, since both A. mellifera and A. cerana colonies are kept in close proximity throughout Asia, not only new spill overs but also spill backs of highly virulent types may be possible, with unpredictable consequences for both honeybee species. We studied the dispersal and hybridisation potential of Varroa from sympatric colonies of the two hosts in Northern Vietnam and the Philippines using mitochondrial and microsatellite DNA markers. We found a very distinct mtDNA haplotype equally invading both A. mellifera and A. cerana in the Philippines. In contrast, we observed a complete reproductive isolation of various Vietnamese Varroa populations in A. mellifera and A. cerana colonies even if kept in the same apiaries. In light of this variance in host specificity, the adaptation of the mite to its hosts seems to have generated much more genetic diversity than previously recognised and the Varroa species complex may include substantial cryptic speciation.

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          Altered physiology in worker honey bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae) infested with the mite Varroa destructor (Acari: Varroidae): a factor in colony loss during overwintering?

          The ectoparasitic mite Varroa destructor (Anderson & Trueman) is the most destructive pest of the honey bee, Apis mellifera L., in Europe and the United States. In temperate zones, the main losses of colonies from the mites occur during colony overwintering. To obtain a deeper knowledge of this phenomenon, we studied the mites' impact on the vitellogenin titer, the total protein stores in the hemolymph, the hemocyte characteristics, and the ecdysteroid titer of adult honey bees. These physiological characteristics are indicators of long-time survival and endocrine function, and we show that they change if bees have been infested by mites during the pupal stage. Compared with noninfested workers, adult bees infested as pupae do not fully develop physiological features typical of long-lived wintering bees. Management procedures designed to kill V. destructor in late autumn may thus fail to prevent losses of colonies because many of the adult bees are no longer able to survive until spring. Beekeepers in temperate climates should therefore combine late autumn management strategies with treatment protocols that keep the mite population at low levels before and during the period when the winter bees emerge.
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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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              The natural occurrence of Pandora heteropterae (Zygomycetes: Entomophthorales) infecting Lygus lineolaris (Hemiptera: Miridae).

              An unknown fungal pathogen was recovered from Lygus lineolaris (Palisot de Beauvois) during a survey of parasitic and pathogenic natural enemies conducted in Franklin County, Arkansas. The pathogen was identified as Pandora heteropterae (Bałazy) Keller based on characteristics of the morphology, as well as growth and sporulation on hosts. The fungus infected 11 of the 3405 (0.32%) wild L. lineolaris collected. In a laboratory host-range bioassay, five of seven hemipteran species from the families Miridae, Coreidae, Lygaeidae, and Pentatomidae were successfully infected. P. heteropterae was previously reported only once, from an unidentified host species in Poland. Here we describe the morphology and growth of P. heteropterae and discuss its potential impact on L. lineolaris in the field. (c) 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

                Author and article information

                Role: Editor
                PLoS One
                PLoS ONE
                PLoS ONE
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, CA USA )
                6 August 2015
                : 10
                : 8
                [1 ]Institut für Biologie, Martin Luther Universität Halle-Wittenberg, Halle (Saale), Germany
                [2 ]Bee Research and Development Centre, Dong Da Hanoi, Vietnam
                [3 ]UPLB Bee Program, Institute of Biological Sciences, University of the Philippines Los Baños, Los Baños, Philippines
                [4 ]Department of Zoology and Entomology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
                University of North Carolina, Greensboro, UNITED STATES
                Author notes

                Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

                Conceived and designed the experiments: ALB TAT ACF TQD CC RFAM. Performed the experiments: ALB TAT ACF. Analyzed the data: ALB RFAM. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: ALB TQD CC RFAM. Wrote the paper: ALB TAT ACF TQD CC RFAM.

                ‡ These authors also contributed equally to this work.


                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited

                Page count
                Figures: 2, Tables: 5, Pages: 12
                This work was supported by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research under research grant no. FKZ01LL0917A-01LL0917O for the LEGATO project.
                Research Article
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