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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) (https://bugguide.net/node/view/925599/bg...).
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 (https://phys.org/news/2014-09-million-ye...). This site has several references for Laelapid mites on beetles: https://scholar.google.com.mx/scholar?q=.... The parasitic mite that causes so much problems for Honey Bees is also a Laelapid. Other references for the Laelapidae: http://www.padil.gov.au/maf-border/searc... https://www.ipmimages.org/browse/detail.... https://bugguide.net/node/view/50868
Spotted on Jul 1, 2019
Submitted on Jul 3, 2019