I want to introduce a new publication that I co-authored with colleagues at the Kyushu University in Japan.
In this pub., we describe two new genera of aleocharine rove beetles in the exclusively termite-symbiotic lineage, tribe Termitohospitini. I really dig this study because it was a truly collaborative effort.
I originally sorted the termitohospitines in the University of Kansas entomological collections, three years ago when I first started my graduate studies, as part of a larger effort to place the lineage in the aleocharine tree of life. In the process, I discovered a new genus but never really did anything with it. When I found out that Taisuke (first author) was working on this group, primarily in Asia, I quickly sent him this material and matured into a great publication.
Members of Termitohospitini all live exclusively within the nests of termites. They are tear-drop shaped (shaped sort of like a horseshoe crab); this body plan has evolved many times among residents of ant and termite societies, and are thought to serve a defensive function, protecting vulnerable appendages under their expanded dorsal body surfaces. The Bolivian new genus that we discovered from the KU collections are peculiar in that they look rather “normal.” Keep your eyes peeled for these beasts next time you venture into a termite colony. They’re sure to be scuttling to safety.