Multivariate discrimination among cryptic species of the mite genus Chaetodactylus (Acari: Chaetodactylidae) associated with bees of the genus Lithurgus (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae) in North America

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Abstract

Twenty-seven morphological characters from 111 heteromorphic deutonymphs of the mite genus Chaetodactylus Rondani (Acari: Chaetodactylidae) were analyzed. The mites were collected from four species of bees of the genus Lithurgus Berthold (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae) in continental North America. Principal component and canonical variates analyses on Darroch and Mosimann shape and size-and-shape variables revealed the presence of three cryptic species. Chaetodactylus gibbosi sp. n. (Florida) is geographically isolated from C. lithurgi sp. n. distributed in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, and Idaho. Sympatric C. lithurgi and C. abditus sp. n. (USA: Arizona, Mexico: Socorro Is.) are seasonally isolated in Arizona. Chaetodactylus gibbosi is associated with a single bee species, Lithurgus gibbosus Smith in Florida. The host range of C. lithurgi includes bees flying predominantly in the spring: L. apicalis Cresson, L. littoralis Cockerell, and western L. gibbosus. Chaetodactylusabditus sp. n. is associated with L. planifrons Friese and L. echinocacti Cockerell, flying predominantly in the fall in Arizona. No distinct groups separated by geographic locality or size were detected in any species. A six-variable model developed by the canonical variates analysis and estimated using jackknife resampling and external validation (n = 100) is capable of classifying the three species with 100% accuracy. Factors that influenced speciation of cryptic species of Chaetodactylus associated with Lithurgus are discussed. Based on morphological, geographical and data on mite associates, the western and eastern populations of the bee L. gibbosus are distinct. Therefore, the taxonomic status of L. gibbosus s. lat. should be reevaluated.

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