Structure of phoretic mite assemblages across subcortical beetle species at a regional scale

Jesse A. Pfammatter, David R. Coyle, Kamal J.K. Gandhi, Natalie Hernandez, Richard W. Hofstetter, John C. Moser, Kenneth F. Raffa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Mites associated with subcortical beetles feed and reproduce within habitats transformed by tree-killing herbivores. Mites lack the ability to independently disperse among these habitats, and thus have evolved characteristics that facilitate using insects as transport between resources. Studies on associations between mites and beetles have historically been beetle-centric, where an assemblage of mite species is characterized on a single beetle species. However, available evidence suggests there may be substantial overlap among mite species on various species of beetles utilizing similar host trees. We assessed the mite communities of multiple beetle species attracted to baited funnel traps in Pinus stands in southern Wisconsin, northern Arizona, and northern Georgia to better characterize mite dispersal and the formation of mite-beetle phoretic associations at multiple scales. We identified approximately 21 mite species totaling 10,575 individuals on 36 beetle species totaling 983 beetles. Of the mites collected, 97% were represented by eight species. Many species of mites were common across beetle species, likely owing to these beetles' common association with trees in the genus Pinus. Most mite species were found on at least three beetle species. Histiostoma spp., Iponemus confusus Lindquist, Histiogaster arborsignis Woodring and Trichouropoda australis Hirschmann were each found on at least seven species of beetles. While beetles had largely similar mite membership, the abundances of individual mite species were highly variable among beetle species within each sampling region. Phoretic mite communities also varied within beetle species between regions, notably for Ips pini (Say) and Ips grandicollis (Eichhoff).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-65
Number of pages13
JournalEnvironmental Entomology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016


  • Dendroctonus
  • Ips
  • Pinus
  • commensalism
  • phoresy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Insect Science


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