My lab mate Crystal and I arrived at San Jose on the 12th and immediately head for Tapanti the next morning. Other trippers had arrived earlier and handled the shopping and paperwork already.
Part of our aim during this trip was to gather more biodiversity data using quantifiable sampling regimes. This included the use of Berlese funnels to extract insects from sampled forest leaf litter.
The above image was borrowed from my lab mate Crystal, also check her Costa Rica images here.
An elusive find from Berlese-ing forest litter at Tapanti, a scydmaenine staphylinid in the genus Leptochromus. This large scydmaenine (~4 mm) sports some amazing features, including geniculate antennae, long maxillary palps with secondary branching, and check spines – umm… sexy.
Leptochromus, probably agilis
As I conjure up my next blog post on Costa Rica, you can enjoy laughing at this weatherman poorly handle a surprise dictypoteran guest.
Really haven’t been blogging lately, I’ll have to make a note to be more consistant.
Well, while I decided what the easiest way to get off my couch is, check out some new YouTube videos I’ve posted on, none other than, aleocharine behavior.
These videos are from when I was keeping a colony of the subcorticular aleocharine Homalota plana. I’m in the midst of writing up a description for the larvae of this species, so this will be sort of a sneak peak. It turns out that the larva for the genus itself is unknown making this an interesting study. Will the larvae support our current view on relationships with other genera within the Homalotini or suggest something completely different?
All members of the genus Homalota are dorsoventrally flattened – obviously to fit under bark of decaying trees – and are thought to feed on fungal material from previous gut content analysis. The larvae, though, didn’t feed on fungal material at all, but instead fed on collembola. So they are most likely generealist predators under bark, possibly with diet shifts during immature life.
Adult mating behavior is a little rough on the male’s part, similar to others that I’ve observed among aleos. In this set-up I had moistened plaster and tried placing a cover slip on top (just for kicks, initially) to emulate the tight spaces these insects experiece. To my surprise, this little gimic worked and the beetles showed an obvious preference to hang out under the glass. Males would back into females for copulation, adjusting their position using their parameres (male clasping organs), then flipping upside-down while maintaining genital contact. Mating, therefore, occurs upside down to one another. All the while you can observed the males constantly trying to maintain contact with their claspers – kinky indead. Pulling out the inflated penis is a rather abrupt affair, even with the many spiny bits and pieces this act involves.
Homalota plana wee-wee with spiny bits and pieces