, Volume 21, Issue 8, pp 539-549

Non-reproduction in the honeybee mite Varroa jacobsoni

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This study brings together the results of investigations into both the causes and subsequent consequences of mites which fail to produce viable female offspring. These showed that the premature death of the male offspring within the host cell leads to unfertilized adult female offspring emerging from the cell. These unfertilized mites cannot mate and so never produce viable offspring, although they do enter cells and attempt to reproduce. Therefore, virgin females cannot account for females which normally only produce male offspring, suggesting that these males are not produced parthenogenically. In the majority of mites, the type of reproductive behaviour does not change, i.e. once abnormal always abnormal. The possible role of premature male mite death in the resistance of (Africanized) bees is discussed.