These pictures, taken from new e book The Friends of Ants, reveal the behaviour of myrmecophiles, refined organisms from beetles to flies that infiltrate ant colonies to reap the benefits of them


10 August 2022

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A histerid beetle (Haeterius ferrugineus) is proven amongst a brood of Formica ant larvae

Pavel Krásenský

ANTS are recognized for his or her remarkably refined colonies, coordinating their behaviours to rework a pile of filth into a posh construction in as little as per week – however there are different refined organisms on the market trying to infiltrate these fastidiously arrange societies.

The invaders, collectively referred to as myrmecophiles, are the subject of The Friends of Ants, a brand new e book by biologist Bert Hölldobler and behavioural ecologist Christina Kwapich. The pair study the species that disrupt colonies by profiting from them, whether or not by masquerading as ants or manipulating their behaviour.

These pictures are taken from the e book. Above, a histerid beetle (Haeterius ferrugineus) is proven amongst a brood of Formica ant larvae, which it has been reported to prey on. The beetle has additionally been seen to solicit regurgitated meals from the host ants, attracting their consideration by waving its forelegs.

Within minutes of exposing a Pheidole dentata nest, the parasitic phorid flies are so thick they are essentially tripping over each other to attack the ants. Brackenrdige Field Lab, Austin, Texas, USA.

Apocephalus, a kind of ant-decapitating fly, proven attacking a soldier Pheidole dentata ant

Pavel Krásenský

Different ant attackers embody Apocephalus, a kind of ant-decapitating fly, proven attacking a soldier Pheidole dentata ant, and the larva of the moth Ippa conspersa, seen assaulting a employee of a number ant (in all probability of the species Lasius nipponensis), under.

The larva of Ippa conspersa attacks a worker of the host ant, probably Lasius nipponensis

Larva of the moth Ippa conspersa, seen assaulting a employee of a number ant (in all probability of the species Lasius nipponensis)

Kyoichi Kinomura

An ant cockroach in the fungus garden of its leafcutter ant host. Laboratory animal at the University of Texas, Austin, Texas, USA. The myrmecophilous cockroach Attaphila fungicola in the fungus garden of Atta texana. Attaphila migrate to new colonies by mounting alate queens and taking a ride with them when the winged queens leave the next for mating flights.

Attaphila fungicola feeds on a colony’s cultured fungus

Alex Wild/

Attaphila fungicola, a cockroach that lives within the nests of the Texas leafcutter ant (Atta texana) and rides on winged queens once they depart the nest for mating, feeds on a colony’s cultured fungus within the picture above. Under, a Microdon hoverfly larva sits within the nest of the Linepithema oblongum ant. The fly larvae are normally ignored and tolerated by the ants, at the same time as they prey on the ants’ brood of larvae.

FEATURE - The larva of a syrphid Microdon species in the nest of the dolichoderine ant Linepithema oblongum.

Microdon hoverfly larva

Alex Wild/

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