Every Ant Tells a Story - And Scientists Explain Their Stories Here
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There are a large number of mite species that live on and with ants.

Photo Gallery

  • Formica sanguinea queen with (possibly) phoretic mites. Photo by Michal Kukla.
  • Myrmecia fulvipes worker with mites near base of mandible. The mites are currently hypopus stage, a phoretic stage where the mites don’t feed on their host, but simply use it as a means of dispersal. Photo by Jordan Dean.
  • Leptothorax acervorum queen with numerous mites attached to her gaster. Photo by Michal Kukla.
  • Amblyopone ferruginea with mite. Blackburn Lake, Victoria, Australia. Photo by Nick Porch.
  • Amblyopone ferruginea with mite. Blackburn Lake, Victoria, Australia. Photo by Nick Porch.
  • Crematogaster ferrarii with Myrmozercon. Hong Kong. Photo by François Brassard.

Spider Mites

Polyrhachis lamellidens workers are attacked by spider mites that appear to specialise on ants. These mites show a strong preference to attach to the petiole as the majority of individuals have been observed in this position. The advantage of this placement is unclear, but it is likely the mites are either protected from removal by the ant or are attacking the soft tissue near the joint between the ant’s petiole and gaster.


A genus of mites that use ants for transportation (phoresy).

Sortable table
Ant Species Mite Reference Remarks
Pheidole sp. alate Caesarodispus pheidolei Rahiminejad et al. 2015 described from mites found on alates in northern Iran
Tetramorium sp. alate Caesarodispus khaustovi Rahiminejad et al. 2015 described from mites found on alates in northern Iran
Tetramorium sp. alate Caesarodispus nodijensis Rahiminejad et al. 2015 described from mites found on alates in northern Iran


Dos Santos Lopes et al. (2015) - Most Oplitidae are myrmecophilous or termitophilous (Hunter and Farrier 1975, 1976), with adults as the most commonly encountered instar on the ants. Available data suggest that host specificity in Oplitidae is quite high, with individual oplitid species usually associated with only one, or a few closely related, host species (Hunter and Farrier 1975, 1976; Campbell et al. 2013). Oplitis is found worldwide, but current understanding of local faunas varies widely among regions. For example, while the European fauna is fairly well studied, the Neotropical fauna is still relatively poorly known (Sellnick 1926, 1954, 1963; Zirngiebl-Nicol and Hirschmann 1973a, 1973b; Hirschmann 1975, 1991; Hiramatsu and Hirschmann 1983; Kontschán and Starý 2012).

A survey of mites on ants in the genus Neoponera from the state of Bahia, northeastern Brazil, revealed a new Oplitis species of the paradoxa-Gruppe (Hirschmann 1991), interpreted here as Oplitis s.s., which will be described for the adult instars. This species is associated with three closely related Neoponera species in the Apicalis complex (Wild 2005).

Oplitis apicalis

Dos Santos Lopes et al. (2015) - Associated with: Neoponera verenae, Neoponera inversa and Neoponera apicalis.

A total of 291 Oplitis specimens were recovered attached to ants. Five of these specimens, recovered from three different nests of N. verenae, were identified as O. camponoti (Hirschmann 1991). Most likely this is accidental, as O. camponoti is normally associated with ants in the genus Camponotus (Hirschmann 1991).

Oplitis moseri

Phoretic on dorsal abdomen of alate female of Solenopsis invicta at Kurth Lake, Texas on 10/28/2004, collected by John Moser.


Da Silva et al. (2017) - The mite genus Petalomium Cross 1965 (Acari: Heterostigmatina: Neopygmephoridae) includes about 40 described species, most of them associated with ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) (Khaustov 2015). The papers referring to Petalomium in Neotropical region are Mahunka (1981), describing P. affinitum from Santa Lucia, West Indies, and Berghoff et al. (2009), reporting 2 unidentified species from Republic of Panama. The aim of this study is to describe a new species associated with workers of the poneromorph ant Neoponera verenae from southern Bahia, Northeastern Brazil. For purposes of comparison, a closely related species, Petalomium gottrauxi Mahunka 1977 is redescribed based on the paratype and specimens from the Crimean Peninsula.


Members of the genus Reticulolaelaps (Mesostigmata: Laelapidae) have been found in soil, litter, tree bark as well as in ant nests (Nemati et al., 2013; Joharchi & Babaeian, 2015; Joharchi et al., 2016), although they have never been found on ants themselves. Due to their cheliceral morphology, Joharchi and Babaeian (2015) speculated that Reticulolaelaps prey on small invertebrates within the ant's nests (Moraza, 2019).

Sortable table
Ant Species Mite Reference Remarks
Camponotus aethiops Petalomium gottrauxi Da Silva et al.. 2017 Known from Crimea and Iran
Myrmica ruginodis Petalomium gottrauxi Da Silva et al.. 2017 Known from Switzerland and Hungary
Neoponera verenae Petalomium verenae Da Silva et al., 2017 Brazil. Phoretic females attached to hairs between the first and second pairs of coxae
Solenopsis invicta Petalomium hofstetteri Khaustov & Moser, 2008 Pineville, Louisiana, from Solenopsis invicta


  • Da Silva, R. A., A. A. Khaustov, J. M. S. Lopes, J. H. C. Delabie, and A. R. Oliveira. 2017. A new species of Petalomium from Brazil with a redescription of Petalomium gottrauxi Mahunka 1977 (Acari: Heterostigmatina: Neopygmephoridae). Systematic and Applied Acarology. 22:1800-1812. doi:10.11158/saa.22.11.2
  • Moraza, M.L. 2019. A new species of Reticulolaelaps Costa (Mesostigmata: Laelapidae) from the Iberian Peninsula, with a key to world species. Acarologia 59 (3): 374-382 (doi:10.24349/acarologia/20194338).
  • Rahiminejad, V., H. Hajiqanbar, and A. A. Talebi. 2015. Three new species of the genus Caesarodispus (Acari: Microdispidae) associated with ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), with a key to species. Entomological Science. 18:461-469. doi:10.1111/ens.12149
  • dos Santos Lopes, J. M., A. R. Oliveira, J. H. C. Delabie, and H. Klompen. 2015. A new species of myrmecophile mite of the genus Oplitis (Acari: Mesostigmata: Oplitidae) from Brazil. International Journal of Acarology. 41:676-680. doi:10.1080/01647954.2015.1096960