Behavior and exocrine glands in the myrmecophilous beetle Lomechusoides strumosus (Fabricius, 1775) (formerly called Lomechusa strumosa) (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae: Aleocharinae)

Berthold Hoelldobler, Christina L. Kwapich, Kevin L. Haight

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    1 Citation (Scopus)

    Abstract

    To become integrated into an ant society, myrmecophilous parasites must overcome both the defenses and the communication system of their hosts. Some aleocharine staphylinid beetles employ chemical and tactile strategies to invade colonies, where they later consume ant brood and participate in parasitic trophallaxis with host ants. By producing compounds that both appease their hosts and stimulate adoption, the beetles are able to live in and deposit their own eggs in the well defended ant nest. In the current paper, previous findings on the myrmecophilous behavior and morphological features of the staphylinid beetle Lomechusoides (formerly Lomechusa) strumosus are reviewed and re-evaluated. Hitherto unpublished results concerning the beetles' ability to participate in the social food flow of their host ants are reported. Furthermore, we present an analysis and documentation of the behavioral interactions between beetles and host ants during the adoption process, and we report new histological and scanning electron microscopic analyses of the exocrine glands and morphological adaptations that underlie the myrmecophilous behavior of L. strumosus. The main features of L. strumosus are compared with those of the staphilinid myrmecophile Lomechusa (formerly Atemeles) pubicollis. The paper concludes with a description of the life trajectory of L. strumosus and presents a brief history and discussion of the hypotheses concerning the evolution of myrmecophily in L. strumosus and other highly adapted myrmecophilous parasites.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)e0200309
    JournalPloS one
    Volume13
    Issue number7
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

    Fingerprint

    Exocrine Glands
    exocrine glands
    Ants
    Staphylinidae
    Beetles
    Formicidae
    Coleoptera
    Communication systems
    Deposits
    Trajectories
    Scanning
    Electrons
    trophallaxis
    Parasites
    parasites
    ant nests
    communications technology
    Aptitude
    Touch
    trajectories

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
    • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

    Cite this

    Behavior and exocrine glands in the myrmecophilous beetle Lomechusoides strumosus (Fabricius, 1775) (formerly called Lomechusa strumosa) (Coleoptera : Staphylinidae: Aleocharinae). / Hoelldobler, Berthold; Kwapich, Christina L.; Haight, Kevin L.

    In: PloS one, Vol. 13, No. 7, 01.01.2018, p. e0200309.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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