Monday, 2 September 2013

A new species of myrmecophilous Rove Beetle from the Peruvian Amazon

Rove Beetles (Staphylinidae) are an unusual-looking group of Beetles, distinguished by their short wing cases, which makes them look rather unbeetle-like. They are a successful group, with over 46 000 described species and a fossil record that dates back to the Triassic. The Pselaphinae are a large group of small Rove Beetles, abundant throughout the tropics and temperate regions and found in leaf litter and sometimes Ants nests, those that live with Ants being referred to as myrmecophilous, or Ant-loving, species. 

In a paper published in the journal Zootaxa on 20 March 2013, Joseph Parker of the Department of Genetics and Development at Columbia University, and Munetoshi Maruyama of the Kyushu University Museum, describe a new species of myrmecophilous Pselaphine Beetle from Satipo Province in the Peruvian Amazon.

The new species is named Jubogaster towai, where 'Jubogaster' is a combination of Jubus, another genus of Pselaphine Beetles which it resembles, and Trogaster, a second genus of Pselaphine Beetles, which genetic analysis suggests is a closer relative, and 'towai' honours Towa Shimada, a collector of myrmecophilous Beetles.

Jubogaster towai in (1) dorsal and (2) ventral views. Parker & Maruyama (2013).

Jubogaster towai is described from a single male specimen, found in a colony of Big-headed Ants under a log near Santa Anna in Satipo Province in the Peruvian Amazon. It is a 5.1 mm golden-brown ant covered in fine setae (hairs). Exactly what is does in the Ant colony is unclear, but it is clearly tolerated by the Ants.

The approximate location of the site where Jubogaster towai was discovered. Google Maps.

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