Symbiotischer Käfer tarnt sich als Ameisen-Arsch

Christoph von Beeren und Daniel Kronauer entdeckten im Regenwald von Costa Rica eine neue Käfer-Art, die sich an den Hüften von Wanderameisen festbeisst, mit denen in Symbiose lebt und sich als deren Ameisenarsch tarnt. Nature is awesome. The Atlantic: This Beetle Bites an Ant’s Waist and Pretends to be Its Butt. (Paper: Nymphister kronaueri von Beeren & Tishechkin sp. nov., an army ant-associated beetle species (Coleoptera: Histeridae: Haeteriinae) with an exceptional mechanism of phoresy.)

[Nymphister kronaueri is] a newly discovered beetle that hitchhikes on ants by clamping its jaws around their waists. This bizarre stowaway is red and spherical—exactly like the ant’s backside. From above, the ant looks normal. From the side, it looks like it has a bustle. A prosthetic posterior. A gluteus extraneous. A beetlebum.

Christoph von Beeren and Daniel Kronauer discovered the beetle, while studying army ants in the rainforest of Costa Rica. […] One day in the spring of 2014, they realized that some of the ants looked a little odd. “The abdomens reflected the light differently, and the color was a little different,” says von Beeren. “Then, we noticed that they looked like they have two abdomens.”

They collected some of these dual-derriered insects and put them in a vial. Back at camp, Kronauer shook the vial… and the back-up backside fell off. It was a beetle. “And it blew our minds,” says von Beeren. After working with USDA entomologist Alexey Tishechkin, he realized that the bonus-butt beetle was new to science. And he named it Nymphister kronaueri, after his colleague Kronauer, who helped to discover it.