Ant Nest Beetle - Biology

Biology

Very little is known about the immature stages of ant nest beetles. Most appear to live in ant nests in their early stages of life. Although many are facultative or obligate myrmecophiles, most do not appear like ants (i.e. myrmecomorphic) and unlike in the case of myrmecophilous larval Lycaenidae, there appears to be no benefit gained by the ants in this association. Many species follow the trails of worker ants of specific species. Glandular secretions on their antennae and body allow them to interact with ant workers. The defensive bombardier behaviour is never used against ants. Males of some species are attracted to lights during some parts of the season and are thought to disperse from one ant nest to another. Males are thought to be short-lived. These beetles feed on ant eggs, larvae and adults by piercing their mandibles into the abdomen or other soft part and sucking the contents. Apart from chemical mimicry and communication with their hosts, they also make use of vibrations. Several stridulatory structures are found in these beetles including alary-elytral, abdomen-femur and thorax-femur combinations of surfaces.

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