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Scarab Beetle with Mites

Phyllophaga sp.


This little brown Scarab with almost transparent elytra is about 1.5 cm in length and very common. It was walking strangely on the ground, so I photographed it and then saw in the pictures that it was dragging 4 rather large mites, 2 attached to each of the hind tarsi. See pictures 3 and 4. I brought it home and the mites dropped off in the jar. See pictures 5 and 6. These look like Mesostigmatid Mites, maybe of the Family Laelapidae. Laelapids have both parasitic and free-living species and many of those are phoretic, especially on beetles. I would think these are probably phoretic, hitching a ride somewhere else, because they were clinging to the tarsi and not attached to some area of the beetle that would be better for feeding. The mites are close to 1 mm in size and easily visible even in pictures 1 and 2. This scarab is in the Subfamily Melolonthinae (note the toothed tarsal claws) (


Under lights in the street, semi-residential area, San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico 2,200 meters.


In 2014, a 50 million year old Laelapid mite (the oldest yet found) was discovered attached to the head of an ant in a piece of Baltic amber! Insects and mites have been around and in association together far longer than even the earliest mammals ( This site has several references for Laelapid mites on beetles: The parasitic mite that causes so much problems for Honey Bees is also a Laelapid. Other references for the Laelapidae:

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LaurenZarate a year ago

Thank you ornithoptera80 :)

Ornithoptera80 a year ago

This beetle is some sort of masked chafer (Cyclocephala) and the mites could be hypoaspis mites.

Spotted by

San Cristóbal, Chiapas, Mexico

Spotted on Jul 1, 2019
Submitted on Jul 3, 2019

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