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Parasites on queen ant

Parasites on queen ant
Oak Ridge, Guilford County, North Carolina, USA
August 10, 2015
Size: <1mm
Noticed these on red queen ant's legs when during photography.
Sorry I can't get better photos.

Images of this individual: tag all
Parasites on queen ant Parasites on queen ant Parasites on queen ant - Camponotus castaneus

Moved from Uropodina.
Det. Ray Fisher (comment below).

Thanks, Edward ruden! It's good to know my
pictures of these mites contributed something to BG.

Moved from Mites and Ticks.

Uropodidae nymphs
Those are phoretic nymphs of Uropodidae. These guys secrete a gummy substance from their anuses that quickly dries into a hardened stalk. This means their anterior is pointing away from the point of attachment. They end up looking like little lolly pops. Unlike parasitengones, these are indeed phoretic as they do not feed on the host. The two groups can be differentiated by countless ways under a microscope, but with low-mag photos, you can tell that these mites are heavily sclerotized (hard exoskeleton) because they are shiny and brown. Velvet mites and their relatives have thin, flexible cuticles that are generally transparent, meaning the candy apple red coloration is coming from their innards.

Compare with these photos: 917894

Moved from ID Request.

Velvet Mite
They are Velvet mite larvae, hopefully someone can narrow further.

Wild guess of Superfamily Erythraeoidea - long-legged velvet mites.

Ants aren't a common host, maybe that is a good clue.

Nice images though!

why would they attach to a bristle?
seems like an odd place if they're after hemolymph

Good question. Another:
I noticed the ant cleaning her forelegs. Can they clean their
other legs, too? Then why not get rid of the parasites?

I've assumed they can
but can't say I know for sure. As for the mites, perhaps they're not feeding but hitching a ride. Mites do this on beetles but I don't know if they use ants in the same way. The queen would be a great way to disperse. James Trager would know but I'm not sure he'll see your photos now that they're in the mite section

Phoretic mites
I could be wrong, but I believe mites that are hitching a ride do so at a later stage in life.

Edit: And I was wrong! Phoretic mites they are, I had not encountered this type before.

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