, Volume 97, Issue 3, pp 311–317 | Cite as

Discovery of mycangia and the associated xylose-fermenting yeasts in stag beetles (Coleoptera: Lucanidae)

  • Masahiko TanahashiEmail author
  • Kôhei Kubota
  • Norihisa Matsushita
  • Katsumi Togashi


Most wood-feeding insects need an association with microbes to utilize wood as food, and some have special organs to store and convey the microbes. We report here the discovery of the microbe-storage organ (mycangium) in stag beetles (Coleoptera: Lucanidae), which develop in decayed wood. The mycangium, which was discovered in the abdomen, is present in all adult females of 22 lucanid species examined in this study, but absent in adult males. By contrast, adult insects of both sexes of selected Passalidae, Geotrupidae, and Scarabaeidae, which are related to Lucanidae, lacked mycangia similar to those of the lucanid species. Yeast-like microbes were isolated from the mycangium of five lucanid species. DNA sequence analyses indicate that the microbes are closely related to the xylose-fermenting yeasts Pichia stipitis, Pichia segobiensis, or Pichia sp. known from the gut of a passalid species.


Lucanidae Mycangium Pichia Symbiosis Yeast Xylose 



We are grateful to Prof. K. Kitamoto for providing the yeast strains; K. Akita, N. Kubota, W. Toki, S. Kakishima, and H. Kawai for collecting materials; and four anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and suggestions. This study was supported by a research fellowship and Grants-in-Aid (nos. 19658059, 20148015) from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Masahiko Tanahashi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kôhei Kubota
    • 1
  • Norihisa Matsushita
    • 2
  • Katsumi Togashi
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Forest Zoology, Graduate School of Agricultural and Life SciencesThe University of TokyoTokyoJapan
  2. 2.Laboratory of Forest Botany, Graduate School of Agricultural and Life SciencesThe University of TokyoTokyoJapan

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