The exceptional attachment ability of the ectoparasitic bee louse Braula coeca (Diptera, Braulidae) on the honeybee

Show simple item record Büscher, Thies H. Petersen, Dennis S. Bijma, Nienke N. Baumler, Fabian Pirk, Christian Walter Werner Busse, Sebastian Heepe, Lars Gorb, Stanislav N. 2021-11-30T08:45:37Z 2021-11-30T08:45:37Z 2022-06
dc.description.abstract Bee lice (Braulidae) are small parasitic flies, which are adapted to live on their bee host. As such, the wingless Braula coeca is a parasite of the common honey bee Apis mellifera and it is well adapted to attach to its hairy surface. The attachment system of B. coeca provides a secure grip on the fine setae of the bee. This is crucial for the parasite survival, as detachment from the host is fatal for the bee louse. The feet morphology of B. coeca is well adapted to the challenging bee surface, notably by strongly broadened claws, which are split into a high number of comb-like teeth, perfectly matching the diameter of the bee hairs. Based on microscopy observations, both the morphology and material composition of the tarsi of B. coeca are characterized in detail. Using high-speed video analysis, we combine the morphology data on the attachment system with a behavioural context. Furthermore, we directly measured the attachment forces generated by the bee lice in contact with the host. In particular, the claws are involved in attachment to the host, as the interstices between the teeth-like spines allow for the collection of several hairs and generate strong friction, when the hairs slip to the narrow gap between the spines. The overall morphology of the tarsus produces strong attachment, with average safety factors (force per body weight) around 1130, and stabilizes the tarsal chain with lateral stoppers against overflexion, but also allows for the fast detachment by the tarsal chain torsion. en_ZA
dc.description.department Zoology and Entomology en_ZA
dc.description.librarian hj2021 en_ZA
dc.description.sponsorship Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft; Human Frontier Science Program and the National Research Foundation. en_ZA
dc.description.uri en_ZA
dc.identifier.citation Büscher, T.H., Petersen, D.S., Bijma, N.N., Bäumler, F., Pirk, C.W.W., Büsse, S. et al. (2022) The exceptional attachment ability of the ectoparasitic bee louse Braula coeca (Diptera, Braulidae) on the honeybee. Physiological Entomology, 47(2), 83–95. Available from: en_ZA
dc.identifier.issn 0307-6962 (print)
dc.identifier.issn 1365-3032 (online)
dc.identifier.other 10.1111/phen.12378
dc.language.iso en en_ZA
dc.publisher Wiley en_ZA
dc.rights © 2021 The Authors. Physiological Entomology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Royal Entomological Society. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. en_ZA
dc.subject Adhesion en_ZA
dc.subject Biomechanics en_ZA
dc.subject Ecomorphology en_ZA
dc.subject Friction en_ZA
dc.subject Interlocking en_ZA
dc.subject Parasitism en_ZA
dc.subject Bee lice en_ZA
dc.title The exceptional attachment ability of the ectoparasitic bee louse Braula coeca (Diptera, Braulidae) on the honeybee en_ZA
dc.type Article en_ZA

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