Thanks to everyone that accessed/shared Joe and my guest blog yesterday!
In our blog article, Joe and I touched on the immense subject of myrmecophily. Hopefully we got across the message that this ecology has evolved many many times in staphylinids. This naturally means that the funky-looking mymrecophile morphologies ultimately are derived from normal-looking precursor ancestors.
Here’s a new pub of mine titled: Redescritpion of the genus Apalonia Casey, description of immature stages and reevaluation of its tribal placement.
Apalonia up to now had been considered to be a constituent of the tribe Lomechusini, a group that is comprised mostly of myrmecophilous species. It turns out, though, that most New World taxa traditionally considered to be Lomechusini belong to a different group.
Basically, past researchers were fooled by convergent morphologies that are apparently adaptive for myrmecophily.
In this paper, I use evidence from larval and adult morphological characters to transfer Apalonia out of Lomechusini. Apalonia are not myrmecophilous but fungus-feeding, similar to its close relative Meronera.