Rove beetles get parasitized too, just like everybody else.

I haven’t looked at these images in a long time. These are pictures of Exallonyx,  staphylinid parasitizing Proctotrupidae wasps. I was into trying to rearing these out in college. I would find them by collecting third and final instar larvae in the spring and rearing them out to see if I got any wasps. You’ll see from the images bellow, but the number of individuals are host size dependent, and emerge in a characteristic manner.

I’ve reared three species out on various occasions from 2007-2008 which I’ve uploaded bellow. The first two species emerged from Philonthus larvae and the third from a Platydracus (I’m guessing violaceous since I found it under bark).

Philonthus pre-pupa in a  chamber found under bark in early spring.

Philonthus pre-pupa in its chamber found under bark in early spring.

An Exallonyx larva emerges from the Philonthus pre-pupa.

An Exallonyx larva emerges from the Philonthus pre-pupa.

Exallonyx ready to emerge.

Exallonyx ready to emerge.

Exallonyx sp. 1

Exallonyx sp. 1

Collected 3 individuals from their own subcorticular Philonthus during a field trip to McLean Bogs for a class on insect larvae.

Another Philontus parasitizing Exallonyx sp. larva, exiting its host.

Another Philonthus parasitizing Exallonyx sp. larva, exiting its host.

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Exallonyx sp. 2 pupates, leaving the Philonthus larva a husk.

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Exallonyx sp. 2 pupa begins to darken.

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Exallonyx sp. 2

A second species of Exallonyx from another Philonthus at Six Mile Creek, Ithaca, my old hunting ground.

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A closeup of Exallonyx sp. 3 reveals the larva’s minute mandibles and a vague eye spot.

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All in a row, Exallonyx sp. 3 pupae.

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Exallonyx sp. 3

I think this is Platydracus violaceous, the larva was under bark at Six Mile Creek. Unlike Philonthus, this large larva can house multiple individuals of Exallonyx. The larvae all emerge synchronously and orient themselves in the same manner, most notable once they have pupated.

In 2007, I was also able to rear out a Brachonidae from Sepedophilous to pupation, but the adult never successfully emerged. This was unfortunate, since this would have been the first documentation of Brachonidae parasitizing a staphylinid.

Notable Texas Eleodes

Some notable species of the diverse genus Eleodes from our trip to Texas this past summer.

Eleodes veterator

This first species is Eleodes veterator, a coastal dune inhabiting species. If you’re familiar with what Eleodes species typically look like, this is an oddball: flattened and fuzzy, it’s actually kinda cute.

These individuals are taking advantage of some messy campers by feeding on an old lemon rind.

Eleodes labialis

Eleodes labialis

The second species is an elusive species, Eleodes labialis, previously only known from the two original type specimens. A species presumably adapted to living between boulders and within the crevices along canyon walls of the Rio Grande, it sports rather long antennae and legs for the genus. I guess you could argue the eyes are slightly smaller then what you would expect for an Eleodes of this size.

Nicagus occultus withstands the wind

From a Texas trip with Kojun and James. A nice find at the dunes. Here, a female tolerates the gusting wind awaiting a male at dawn.

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Ampulex canaliculata

I was inspired by AntRoom’s post on rearing the emerald cockroach wasp, so I set out to find our North American local Ampulex.

I saw this female carrying a juvenile roach up a tree by its antennae (very typical), but failed to get my camera ready in time. Fortunately, I was able to grab a couple shots of her carrying debris back to her nest which she uses to plug up the entrance.

A female Ampulex canaliculata carries debris back to her nest.

A female Ampulex canaliculata carries debris back to her nest.

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Her and other individuals were nesting in holes made by wood boring beetles and debris for blocking the entrance could be found nearby by collecting frass generated by the same wood boring beetles.

In situ Pella is the best kind of Pella

Finally got it! Evidence of Pella planifer behaving in its natural environment.

Pella planifer investigating the vicinity of Crematogaster activity.

Pella planifer investigating the vicinity of Crematogaster activity.

We know from work conducted in the Palearctic that species of Pella hang around the nest vicinities of their host ants, preying upon weakened workers and scavenging on whatever opportunities that may arise. But these observations were geographically limited and the few Pella species of North America were a behavioral enigmas.

Based on my own previous observations, it had been becoming clear that North American Pella exhibit similar behaviors and ecologies as their Old World cousins. That’s all dandy but there is nothing that can top visual evidence to support an organism’s behavior in its native environment – today, I’ve finally accomplished this.

Pella planifer biting and tugging at a Crematogaster queen in midst of colony recruitment.

Pella planifer biting and tugging at a Crematogaster queen in midst of colony recruitment.

Crematogaster wake for spring

There’s a Crematogaster colony that lives in my backyard where I’ve periodically searched for Pella planifer. I also use the colony’s activity as a proxy for ant activity. Before I set out to go collecting, I frequently check the activity of ants in my yard in order to assess how the collecting that day is going to be.

Ants active? Great, I’ll check foraging trail periphery for Pella today.

Ants not active cause it’s too hot? Too bad, maybe I’ll put off myrmecophile collecting until fall.

It wasn’t until around 1 PM that the Crematogaster began to forage, a little chilly today. Nonetheless, decided to check out the column for Pella later in the afternoon, hoping to snap some in situ action shots of Pella destroying Crematogaster workers.

For a second there I saw a scuttle out of the corner of my eye - not Pella but a free-living athetine of some sort. Maybe Acrotona?

For a second there I saw a scuttle out of the corner of my eye – not Pella but a free-living athetine of some sort. Maybe Acrotona?

Unfortunately, it was a little too cold today and the previous night’s drop in temp. didn’t help either, oh well. Still got some interesting shots of Crematogaster workers interacting with queens that had recently dropped their flight wings. This species of Crematogaster is polygynous, not sure but I interpreted this behavior as workers trying to recruit new queens. Oddly, the queens weren’t cooperating with the workers.

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Regressing against Ethanopium

I’m including stats in a larval description I’m working on, like, now. Give it up for Dyar’s Ratio!

I took Jim’s course on larval biology (one of the best classes I have taken, btw, and Keith still holds a grudge cause I got a better grade in the class – hey, we all miss-IDed the lymexylid larva in our collections, OK?) and learned about Dyar’s Rule/Ratio, whatever you want to call it, and Dyar’s personal weirdness (he was all about building dangerously illegal tunnels in his back yard).

Once I heard about Dyar’s Ratio, I was determined to include it in my research, and here I am, including it, but with really no utility, admittedly, but that’s OK. Just don’t tell the editors. Hey, at least the concept had never been tested in rove beetles, right?

Here’s my new fav., courtesy of Krystaal: Dengue Fever, a Cambodian Psychedelic Surf Rock influenced group. Enjoy Ethanopium a cover (also a soundtrack for Broken Flowers, FYI), but a nice segue into the band nonetheless.