Kenocoelus sp. Broun, 1911

REDUCED_NZ-Ento-Soc-Insect-Playing-Cards_Kenocoelus RED

Order: Coleoptera    Family: Staphylinidae

Size: 1.46-1.76mm long

Beetles are the most diverse insect group and many have adapted to unique lifestyles. For instance, many have become myrmecophilic inquilines (“myrmecophilic” meaning “ant-loving” and “inquiline” coming from the Latin for “tenant”). What this means is that some beetles interact with or even spend part of their lives in ant nests. Many beetles which take up this lifestyle come to look a bit like ants.

Our Kenocoelus beetles have been found in nests of endemic ant Huberia and probably avoid the wrath of their hosts by producing chemicals which change how the ants around them behave. We don’t know exactly what goes on between Huberia and Kenocoelus within the nests but in other species the beetles might prey on the ants or their larvae, or may leave their own larvae in the nests to be tended to by the ants.


References:

 Nomura S & Leschen R. (2015) Myrmecophilous Pselaphinae (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae) from New Zealand. The Coleopterists bulletin, 69(1), 121-152.

Parker J. (2016). Myrmecophily in beetles (Coleoptera): evolutionary patterns and biological mechanisms. Myrmecological news, 22, 65-108.