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The beetle genus Cremastocheilus is a myrmecophiloous cetoniine scarab endemic to North America. The adults are known to feed on ant brood while the beetle larvae are found feeding on organic detritus found within the ant host nest. Adult beetles disperse from the ant nest to mate and re-enter host ant nests to feed and lay eggs. Adult Cremastocheilus have trichomes and associated glands at the anterior and posterior corners of the pronotum and on the head. In the subgenus Macropodina, trichomes and associated glands are found on the fore-tarsi. The role of the glandular secretions and trichome hairs have not been clearly defined. There are about thirty-five species in the genus and each beetle species has a preferred host ant genus and species.

  • Myrmeceicon Mann 1911 Syn.
  • Myrmecotonus Mann 1914 Syn.
  • Trinodia Casey 1915 Syn.
  • Anatrinodia Casey 1915 Syn.
  • Macropodina Casey 1915 Syn

Key to the Subgenera of Cremastocheilus

Key to Trinodia species

List of Cremastocheilus and their Host Ants

List of Cremastocheilus and their Host Ants
Genus and species Author and Year Ant Host State Records Notes
Cremastocheilus academicus Krikken, 1982 no host record Mexico rare
Cremastocheilus angularis LeConte, 1857 Formica California uncommon
Cremastocheilus armatus Walker, 1866 Formica obscuripes California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington; Canada (Vancouver) Common in Formica mound building nests
Cremastocheilus beameri Cazier, 1940 Camponotus ocreatus Arizona, New Mexico beetles mate at the entrance to kangaroo rodent burrows
Cremastocheilus canaliculatus Kirby, 1827 Formica pallidefulva Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, North Carolina, West Virginia Common in Formica nests (Formica schaufussi is a synonym of Fomica pallidifulva)
Cremastocheilus castaneae brevisetosus Casey, 1915 Formica integra Iowa Possible synonym
Cremastocheilus castaneae Knoch, 1801 Formica integra Georgia, Maine, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Wisconsin ?
Cremastocheilus chapini Cazier, 1940 ant host unknown Arizona, New Mexico ?
Cremastocheilus congener Casey, 1915 ? Washington State ?
Cremastocheilus constricticollis Cazier, 1940 Myrmecocystus sp. Arizona ?
Cremastocheilus crinitus bifoveatus Van Dyke, 1918 unknown Arizona Possible synonym?
Cremastocheilus crinitus LeConte, 1874 Formica gnava Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, Washington : Canada (British Columbia) species complex?
Cremastocheilus crinitus pugetanus Casey, 1915 ? Idaho, Utah, Washington Possible synonym?
Cremastocheilus excavatus Cazier, 1940 no ant host record Mexico Pogonomyrmex host ?
Cremastocheilus harrisii Kirby, 1827 Formica sp. Georgia, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Wisconsin Mates on sand bars in the spring
Cremastocheilus hirsutus Van Dyke, 1918 Pogonomyrmex barbatus, Pogonomyrmex maricopa Arizona, New Mexico Beetle larvae develop in the upper chambers of the nest
Cremastocheilus knochii LeConte, 1853 Formica Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin ; Canada (Manitoba) ?
Cremastocheilus lengi Cazier, 1938 Pheidole desertorum Arizona 4-segmented hind tarsi, all other Cremastocheilus have 5-segmented hind tarsi
Cremastocheilus mentalis Cazier, 1940 Novomessor albisetosus Arizona ?
Cremastocheilus mexicanus Schaum, 1841 Formica gnava Arizona with Formica subcyanea and other Formica' ?
Cremastocheilus nitens LeConte, 1853 ? Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota ?
Cremastocheilus opaculus Horn, 1885 Myrmecocystus ? Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah
Cremastocheilus planatus LeConte, 1866 Camponotus Arizona, New Mexico ?
Cremastocheilus planipes Horn, 1894 Novomessor cockerelli Arizona, New Mexico, Texas ?
Cremastocheilus pulverulentus Cazier, 1940 Myrmecocystus ? Arizona, New Mexico ?
Cremastocheilus puncticollis Cazier, 1940 ? Arizona, California ?
Cremastocheilus quadratus Fall, 1912 Veromessor pergandei? Arizona, California known only from three specimens.
Cremastocheilus quadricollis (Casey, 1915) ? Oklahoma, Texas ?
Cremastocheilus retractus incisus Casey, 1915 ? Colorado, Kansas ?
Cremastocheilus retractus LeConte, 1874 Formica gnava Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois (Mason Co.), Iowa (Des Moines Co., Lee Co.), Nebraska, Texas (Travis Co.), Wyoming; Canada (Manitoba); Mexico (Durango) Formica ciliata?
Cremastocheilus robinsoni Cazier, 1940 ? Arizona; Mexico (Durango) ?
Cremastocheilus saucius LeConte, 1858 Pogonomyrmex occidentalis Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska New Mexico, Texas, Wyoming ?
Cremastocheilus schaumii LeConte, 1853 Veromessor ? California ?
Cremastocheilus schaumii tibialis Casey, 1915 Veromessor ? ? ?
Cremastocheilus setosifrons (Casey, 1915) ? Kansas ?
Cremastocheilus spinifer Horn, 1885 Pheidole? Texas taken from a nest of Pheidole desertorum under a stone near Fort Davis, Texas
Cremastocheilus squamulosus LeConte, 1858 ? Florida, Maryland, North Carolina ?
Cremastocheilus stathamae Cazier, 1961 Myrmecocystus depilis, Myrmecocystus mexicanus Arizona ?
Cremastocheilus tomentosus Warner, 1985 ? Arizona no ant host records
Cremastocheilus variolosus Kirby, 1826 ? New Jersey, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania ?
Cremastocheilus westwoodi tridens Casey, 1915 Veromessor ? California ?
Cremastocheilus westwoodi Horn, 1879 Veromessor ? California ?
Cremastocheilus wheeleri LeConte, 1876 Formica obscuripes Colorado, Montana, Nebraska, Wisconsin : Canada Transferred from subgenus Anatrinodia to Cremastocheilus


  • Alpert, G.D. 1981. A comparative study of the symbiotic relationships between scarab beetles of the genus Cremastocheilus and their host ants. Ph.D. Thesis, Harvard University, submitted to Dept. of Biology, 588 pages.
  • Ayre, Gordon L. 1958. Notes on Insects found in or near Nests of Formica subnitens Creighton (Mymenoptera: Formicidae) in British Columbia (1). Insectes Sociaux, 5, no. 1: pp. 1-7
  • Burmeister H.C.C. & Schaum H. (1841) Kritische Revision der Lamellicornia melitophila (second part): Zeitschrift für die Entomologie, herausgegeben von Ernst Friedrich Germar. Leipzig 3:226-282
  • Horn, G.H. 1886. Concerning Cremastochilus. Ent. Amer. I: 187-188.
  • Knoch, A.W. 1801. Neue Beytrage zur Insectenkunde, 2 c. Part I. xii+ 208 pp. 9 pls. Leipzig.
  • Lago, P.K., R.L. Post, and C.Y. Oseto. 1979. The phytophagous Scarabaeidae and Troginae (Coleoptera) of North Dakota. North Dakota Insects Pub. No. 12, Schafer-Post series. January.
  • LeConte J.L. (1857) Report upon the Insects collected on the survey. Explorations and surveys for a railroad route from Mississippi river to the Pacific Ocean. – War Department. Route near the forty-seventh and forty-ninth parallels, explored by I. I. Stevens, governor of Washington Territory, in 1853–'55. Zoological Report: 12:1-72 (40-42)
  • LeConte, J.L. 1876. New species of Coleoptera, collected by expeditions for geographic surveys West of one hundredth meridian &c. Report Chief of Engineers, Washington. 516520.