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Beatrice T Nganso -Institute of Plant Protection, Agricultural Research Organization, The Volcani Center, P.O.B 15159, Rishon leZion 7505101, Israel.
Kannan, Mani - Institute of Plant Protection, Agricultural Research Organization, The Volcani Center, P.O.B 15159, Rishon leZion 7505101, Israel.
 

Olfaction as well as gustation, are essential for animal survival, allowing behavioral modulation according to environmental input. We focused our study on an obligate ecto-parasitic mite of honey bees, the Varroa destructor Anderson and Trueman (Parasitiformes, Mesostigmata, Varroidae). By mechanically blocking the main olfactory organ on Varroa forelegs by varnishing with nail polish, we were able to show that other sensory organs cannot significantly compensate chemosensory abilities required for mite's host selection, identification as well as reproduction. In fact, we found that mites with blocked forelegs had a significantly lower ability to reach a host bee than those with varnished idiosoma and unvarnished control. Furthermore, fewer foreleg blocked mites were feeding on the nurse bees and their reproduction in the brood cells was significantly impaired. The inhibition of reproduction was also reflected in altered expression levels of vitellogenin and vitellogenin receptor genes in foreleg-blocked mites.

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How Crucial Is the Functional Pit Organ for the Varroa Mite?
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Beatrice T Nganso -Institute of Plant Protection, Agricultural Research Organization, The Volcani Center, P.O.B 15159, Rishon leZion 7505101, Israel.
Kannan, Mani - Institute of Plant Protection, Agricultural Research Organization, The Volcani Center, P.O.B 15159, Rishon leZion 7505101, Israel.
 

How Crucial Is the Functional Pit Organ for the Varroa Mite?

Olfaction as well as gustation, are essential for animal survival, allowing behavioral modulation according to environmental input. We focused our study on an obligate ecto-parasitic mite of honey bees, the Varroa destructor Anderson and Trueman (Parasitiformes, Mesostigmata, Varroidae). By mechanically blocking the main olfactory organ on Varroa forelegs by varnishing with nail polish, we were able to show that other sensory organs cannot significantly compensate chemosensory abilities required for mite's host selection, identification as well as reproduction. In fact, we found that mites with blocked forelegs had a significantly lower ability to reach a host bee than those with varnished idiosoma and unvarnished control. Furthermore, fewer foreleg blocked mites were feeding on the nurse bees and their reproduction in the brood cells was significantly impaired. The inhibition of reproduction was also reflected in altered expression levels of vitellogenin and vitellogenin receptor genes in foreleg-blocked mites.

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