Difference between revisions of "Myrmecophiles"

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* Syrphid flies ''Microdon'' larvae
 
* Syrphid flies ''Microdon'' larvae
 
* Scarab beetles ''Cremastocheilus'' adults
 
* Scarab beetles ''Cremastocheilus'' adults
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File:Cremastocheilus-opaculus0876.jpg
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* [[Lepidoptera| Lepidoptera / Butterflies]]
 
* [[Lepidoptera| Lepidoptera / Butterflies]]
 
**''Phengaris'' (=''Maculinea'') (Lycaenidae) - Sielezniew et al. (2015) - Caterpillars develop on specific host plants (depending on species: ''Thymus'' or ''Origanum'', ''Gentiana'' and ''Sanguisorba'') and complete their development inside the nests of specific red ants (''[[Myrmica]]'' sp.) as social parasites feeding on the hosts’ brood, or being fed by [[Trophallaxis|trophallaxis]] (Thomas, 1995).
 
**''Phengaris'' (=''Maculinea'') (Lycaenidae) - Sielezniew et al. (2015) - Caterpillars develop on specific host plants (depending on species: ''Thymus'' or ''Origanum'', ''Gentiana'' and ''Sanguisorba'') and complete their development inside the nests of specific red ants (''[[Myrmica]]'' sp.) as social parasites feeding on the hosts’ brood, or being fed by [[Trophallaxis|trophallaxis]] (Thomas, 1995).

Revision as of 17:33, 29 November 2016

Myrmecophiles may occupy a variety of ecological niches within their host ant colony. Some consume waste materials in the nests, such as dead ants, dead larvae, or fungi growing in the nest. A few feed on external secretions of ants and some are fed directly by their host ants. Some myrmecophiles feed on the stored food supplies of ants, and a few are predatory on ant eggs, larvae, pupae or even adults. Others benefit the ants by providing a food source for them. Many myrmecophilous relationships are obligate, meaning one or the other participant requires the relationship for survival. Some associations are facultative, benefiting one or both participants but not being necessary to their survival. Many myrmecophiles await discovery and for many the nature of the relationship with their host is unknown.

Myrmecophiles can be assigned to one or more of the following categories that represent major ecological niches or functional groups within the host ant colony.

Predators on ant brood within the host colony. Includes feeding on ant eggs, larvae or pupae

Mountain Alcon Blue (Phengaris rebeli)
  • Syrphid flies Microdon larvae
  • Scarab beetles Cremastocheilus adults
  • Lepidoptera / Butterflies
    • Phengaris (=Maculinea) (Lycaenidae) - Sielezniew et al. (2015) - Caterpillars develop on specific host plants (depending on species: Thymus or Origanum, Gentiana and Sanguisorba) and complete their development inside the nests of specific red ants (Myrmica sp.) as social parasites feeding on the hosts’ brood, or being fed by trophallaxis (Thomas, 1995).
      • ant hosts
        • Myrmica schencki host of Mountain Alcon Blue (Phengaris rebeli) - fairly well studied association, see M. schencki species page
        • Myrmica lonae host of Large Blue (Phengaris arion)

Consume waste materials in the nests. Includes dead ants, dead larvae or fungi

  • Staphylinid beetles

Feed on external secretions of ants

  • Crickets Myrmecophila

Fed directly by host ants

  • Histerid beetles Hetaerius adults

Formica exsectoides is the host for Hetaerius brunneipennis.

Feed on stored food supplies of ants

Unclassified

Mites

References

  • Sielezniew, M., D. Patricelli, R. Rutkowski, M. Witek, S. Bonelli, and M. M. Bus. 2015. Population genetics of the endangered obligatorily myrmecophilous butterfly Phengaris (=Maculinea) arion in two areas of its European range. Insect Conservation and Diversity. 8:505-516. doi:10.1111/icad.12129