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Macrocheles species (Acari: Macrochelidae) associated with human corpses in Europe

Che Kamaruzaman, N. A., Mašán, P., Velásquez, Y., González-Medina, A., Lindström, A., Braig, H. R. and Perotti, M. A. ORCID: (2018) Macrocheles species (Acari: Macrochelidae) associated with human corpses in Europe. Experimental and Applied Acarology, 76 (4). pp. 453-471. ISSN 0168-8162

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1007/s10493-018-0321-4


The biology of macrochelid mites might offer new venues for the interpretation of the environmental conditions surrounding human death and decomposition. Three human corpses, one from Sweden and two from Spain, have been analysed for the occurrence of Macrochelidae species. Macrocheles muscaedomesticae females were associated with a corpse that was found in a popular beach area of southeast Spain. Their arrival coincides with the occurrence of one of their major carrier species, the filth fly Fannia scalaris, the activity of which peaks during mid-summer. M. glaber specimens were collected from a corpse in a shallow grave in a forest in Sweden at the end of summer, concurrent with the arrival of beetles attracted by odours from the corpse. M. perglaber adults were sampled from a corpse found indoors in the rural surroundings of Granada city, Spain. The phoretic behaviour of this species is similar to that of M. glaber, but being more specific to Scarabaeidae and Geotrupidae dung beetles, most of which favour human faeces. M. muscaedomesticae is known from urban and rural areas and poultry farms; M. glaber from outdoors, particularly the countryside; while M. perglaber from outdoor, rural, and remote, potentially mountainous locations. M. muscaedomesticae and M. perglaber are reported for the first time from the Iberian Peninsula. This is the first record of M. perglaber from human remains.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Biological Sciences > Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
ID Code:80154


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