Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Live-in Domestics: Mites As Maids In Tropical Rainforest Sweat Bee Nests

Date:
April 28, 2009
Source:
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
Summary:
Mites not only inhabit the dust bunnies under your bed, they also occupy the nests of tropical sweat bees where they keep fungi in check. Bees and their young are healthier when mites live-in, according to new research.

Mites hitch a bee-back ride between nests.
Credit: Natalia Biani

Mites not only inhabit the dust bunnies under the bed, they also occupy the nests of tropical sweat bees where they keep fungi in check. Bees and their young are healthier when mites live-in, report researchers from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama and the University of Texas at Austin.

Related Articles


Mutually beneficial cleaning relationships have been documented for shrimps and fish that eat parasites on larger fish, but this is the first confirmation of a cleaning relationship between two different species on land.

Tropical sweat bees in the genus Megalopta tunnel into rotten wood, excavating cells for their young that they feed with nectar and pollen. Researchers working at field sites throughout Panama noticed that sweat-bee nests sometimes housed mites and that more young bees died in nests that did not contain mites than in nests that did.

"The mutualistic nature of bee-mite symbioses was hypothesized repeatedly but had never been demonstrated empirically," said Natalia Biani, short-term fellow in Staff Scientist William Wcislo's lab at STRI and graduate student in professor Ulrich Mueller's lab at the University of Texas, Austin.

Biani placed the contents of the brood cells in water and plated the liquid on Petri dishes in order to count the number of fungal colonies from nests with and without mites. "When we took away the mites, the bee nests got dirtier. When we added mites, fungus counts went down. It is pretty clear that the mites clean up the cells where the young are growing," Biani said. In return, the mites receive a clean, dry home, fungus to eat and free bee rides to new nests.

This work appears online in the journal American Naturalist.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. "Live-in Domestics: Mites As Maids In Tropical Rainforest Sweat Bee Nests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 April 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090420121348.htm>.
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. (2009, April 28). Live-in Domestics: Mites As Maids In Tropical Rainforest Sweat Bee Nests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090420121348.htm
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. "Live-in Domestics: Mites As Maids In Tropical Rainforest Sweat Bee Nests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090420121348.htm (accessed November 29, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) In Africa's only biosafety level 4 laboratory, scientists have been carrying out experiments on bats to understand how virus like Ebola are being transmitted, and how some of them resist to it. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 27, 2014) A British palaeontologist has discovered a new species of dinosaur while studying fossils in a Canadian museum. Pentaceratops aquilonius was related to Triceratops and lived at the end of the Cretaceous Period, around 75 million years ago. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) Tryptophan, a chemical found naturally in turkey meat, gets blamed for sleepiness after Thanksgiving meals. But science points to other culprits. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Reuters - Entertainment Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) The iconic piano from "Casablanca" and the Cowardly Lion suit from "The Wizard of Oz" fetch millions at auction. Sara Hemrajani reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins