Chemical camouflage by myrmecophilous beetles Zyras comes (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae) and Diaritiger fossulatus (Coleoptera: Pselaphidae) to be integrated into the nest of Lasius fuliginosus (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)
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The myrmecophilous beetles, Zyras comes (Staphylinidae) and Diaritiger fossulatus (Pselaphidae) are guests of the black shining ant Lasius fuliginosus. Host worker ants never attacked these beetles, and often gave regurgitant to Z. comes following tactile communication with the beetle. By contrast, the workers from colonies without the myrmecophiles showed hostile responses towards Z. comes before tactile contact, but were not aware of D. fossulatus until contact. In L. fuliginosus, workers within a colony shared profiles, but the profiles differed among colonies. GC analyses showed that both Z. comes and D. fossulatus beetles had the same hydrocarbons as L. fuliginosus, and the profiles were more similar to those of the host colony workers than the foreign workers. Both Z. comes and D. fossulatus appear to imitate the hydrocarbon profile of their host workers, allowing integrating into the host nest. A Y-maze bioassay indicated that Z. comes can follow the trail pheromone of L. fuliginosus. This suggests that Z. comes may detect other chemical signals of L. fuliginosus to keep closer interactions with the workers.
Key wordsChemical camouflage cuticular hydrocarbons Zyras comes Diaritiger fossulatus Lasius fuliginosus
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