Phoresy on a Neotropical bumblebee (Hymenoptera: Apidae) by Anterophagus (Coleoptera: Cryptophagidae).
Psyche 101:109-111, 1994.
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PHORESY ON A NEOTROPICAL BUMBLEBEE
(HYMENOPTERA: APIDAE) BY ANTHEROPHAGUS
Museum of Comparative Zoology
Cambridge, MA 021 38
On January 22, 1994, while collecting bumblebees in San Isidro, Costa Rica (702 m altitude), I observed a queen bumblebee (Bombus pullatus Franklin) carrying a beetle on her right leg and pollinating the flowers without any problem. I immediately caught the queen and her guest, and put them in an ethyl acetate killing jar where the beetle remained attached by its mandibles to the tibia of the right hind leg. The beetle (a female) which proved to be a new species of Antherophagus Latreille (Q.D. Wheeler & P. Fraissinet, pers. comm.) eventually released its hold in the killing jar. I found several records of this phoretic behavior in several North Ameri- can bumblebee species ( Packard, 1864; J.B. Smith, 1909; Blatch- ley, 1910; Wheeler, 1919; Plath, 1934) as well as some European records (Redtenbacher, 1858; Carus and Gerstaecker, 1863; Eich- hoff, 1866; Gorham, 1869; Perris, 1869-70; Bugnion, 1869-70; Seidlitz 1869-70; Hoffer, 1883; Fowler, 1889; Sharp, 1899; Wag- ner, 1907; Reitter, 1911; Sladen, 1912; Reuter, 1913; Alford, 1975), but to my knowledge this is the first record in a Neotropical bumblebee species. Although Crowson (1981) described an Antherophagus species associated with Bombus Latreille in Central America, he did not make any reference to the particular species involved. Also Roubik (1989) mentioned that Antherophagus apparently transfer between foraging Bombus at flowers. Antherophagus species have been found in nests of Bombus ephip- piatus Say also in Costa Rica (Chavarria in prep.). But it is inter- esting to note that the author has collected three nests of Bombus pullatus Franklin without beetles or any other ectosymbiont so in this case we can apply the term "phoresy." Since 1896 Lesne used Manuscript received 17 April 1994.
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the term "phoresy" and distinguished it from ectoparasitism by the fact that the portee does not feed on the porter and eventually dis- mounts and has no further relations with the latter. The earliest observations of "this habit" seem to have been made by the British coleopterist T.J. Bold (1856, 1871). The feeding habits of the adult and larval Antherophagus seem to have been observed by some of the authors mentioned above, but they do not clearly state their observations. Charles Janet (1897) studied the known cases of phoresy more comprehensively and expanded the concept and dis- tinguished no less than six different categories. Several authors have reported cases of phoresy (Banks, 19 11; Warner, 1903; Brues, 1917a, 1917b; Rabaud, 1917; Wheeler, 1919). The majority of them made reference to Antherophagus and the ways it attaches to the legs, mouthparts or antennae of bumblebees for the purpose of being transported. Antherophagus have a very characteristic struc- ture of the mandibles which enables them to grasp firmly any of the bee's appendages, and they have red integument with golden yellow hairs that is characteristic of many myrmecophilous bee- tles.
I thank Quentin D. Wheeler and Peter Fraissinet (Cornell Uni- versity) for their help in identifying the beetle. I express my grati- tude to the people at the Universidad de Costa Rica, particularly Paul Hanson and Humberto Lezama at the Museo de Insectos for their hospitality and support. Field studies in Costa Rica were sup- ported by a post-course award from the Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS) and the Pew Charitable Trust, and the Graduate Stu- dent Council (Harvard University).
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19941 Chavarria 11 1
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