Data from: Varroa destructor changes cuticular hydrocarbons to mimic its new host.
Huang, Zachary Y. et al. (2015), Data from: Varroa destructor changes cuticular hydrocarbons to mimic its new host., Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.1bf13
Varroa destructor (Vd) is a honeybee ectoparasite. Its original host is the Asian honeybee, Apis cerana, but it has also become a severe, global threat to the European honeybee, Apis mellifera. Previous studies have shown that Varroa can mimic a host's cuticular hydrocarbons (HC), enabling the parasite to escape the hygienic behaviour of the host honeybees. By transferring mites between the two honeybee species, we further demonstrate that Vd is able to mimic the cuticular HC of a novel host species when artificially transferred to this new host. Mites originally from A. cerana are more efficient than mites from A. mellifera in mimicking HC of both A. cerana and A. mellifera. This remarkable adaptability may explain their relatively recent host-shift from A. cerana to A. mellifera.