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Insects 2019, 10(4), 104; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects10040104

First Record of the Velvet Ant Mutilla europaea (Hymenoptera: Mutillidae) Parasitizing the Bumblebee Bombus breviceps (Hymenoptera: Apidae)

1
College of Animal Science and Veterinary Medicine, Shanxi Agricultural University, Taigu 030801, Shanxi, China
2
Sericulture & Apicultural Research Institute, Yunnan Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Mengzi 661101, Yunnan, China
3
Key Laboratory for Insect-Pollinator Biology of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Institute of Apicultural Research, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing 100093, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 31 January 2019 / Revised: 27 March 2019 / Accepted: 11 April 2019 / Published: 12 April 2019
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Abstract

Mutillid wasps are ectoparasitic insects that parasitize the enclosed developmental stages of their hosts. Adults are sexually dimorphic, with brilliantly colored and hardened cuticles. The biology of parasitic mutillid wasps has rarely been addressed. Here, we investigated the parasitization by Mutilla europaea on an important pollinator, Bombus breviceps. The parasitic biology and dispersal ability of M. europaea were observed and tested under experimental conditions. We provide the first record of M. europaea parasitizing B. breviceps in southwestern China. As is the case with other bumblebee species, M. europaea mainly parasitized the puparia of males. The dispersal and invasion ability of this parasite under experimental conditions indicates that it spreads rapidly, as far as 20 m in one week, and invades different hosts (B. breviceps and Bombus haemorrhoidalis). This report not only clarifies the parasitic relationship between M. europaea and B. breviceps, but also has important ecological implications for the conservation of bumblebees in China. View Full-Text
Keywords: Bumblebee; Bombus breviceps; velvet ant; Mutilla europaea; parasitoids Bumblebee; Bombus breviceps; velvet ant; Mutilla europaea; parasitoids
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Su, W.; Liang, C.; Ding, G.; Jiang, Y.; Huang, J.; Wu, J. First Record of the Velvet Ant Mutilla europaea (Hymenoptera: Mutillidae) Parasitizing the Bumblebee Bombus breviceps (Hymenoptera: Apidae). Insects 2019, 10, 104.

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