Tremex behaviour

Barry M. OConnor bmoc at UMICH.EDU
Wed Sep 4 18:33:48 CDT 2002

At 7:06 PM +0000 9/4/02, Ken Kinman wrote:
>>      ... Anyway, I have not yet been able to find any literature on
>> horntail wasps (Siricidae) trying to "oviposit" their eggs into a horse (or
>> any other animal, for that matter).  I find this interesting, trying to
>> figure out why  such drastic "host-switching" (animals instead of trees)
>> would occur...

There is an odd group of mites in the family Histiostomatidae (genera
Loxanoetus & Otanoetus) that live in the ear canals of horses, donkeys,
elephants & African buffalo.  These mites are filter feeders.  They appear
to be related to a clade whose species otherwise inhabit phytotelmata.  The
species whose dispersal mode is known utilize flies for phoretic dispersal.
At some point in history a fly may have made a mistake and entered a large
mammal ear instead of some other confined, dark, wet space.  In this case,
a hypothesis of "host switching" from plants to animals is supported. -

So many mites, so little time!
Barry M. OConnor
Professor & Curator             phone: (734) 763-4354
Museum of Zoology               FAX: (734) 763-4080
University of Michigan          e-mail: bmoc at
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1079  USA

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