Beetles that live with ants: A remarkably large and colorful new species from Guyane

Dec 03, 2013
This image shows the beautiful body pattern of the new species G. spectabilis Erwin. Credit: Karolyn Darrow, Smithsonian Illustrator and Graphics Specialist

Scientists from the Smithsonian Institution describe the Spectacular Guyane False-form beetle, or Guyanemorpha spectabilis, from Guyane (French Guiana). As its name suggests, the newly discovered species stands out among its dull relatives in the Western Hemisphere, with its great size and beautiful coloration. The study was published in the open access journal ZooKeys.

"This surprising large and colorful pseudomorphine came as a shock to me, as all other of the Tribe in the Western Hemisphere are quite dull brown, dark reddish, or blackish with no, or little, color contrast on the upper surface," explains the author Dr. Terry L. Erwin. "In the world of entomology this new species can be only compared in its rare characteristics to the Olinguito, a new carnivore species which charmed the world and just recently described by Kris Helgen in ZooKeys, " he added.

The belongs to the Pseudomorphini Tribe, famous for the co-existence of its representatives with various . Members of G. spectabilis occur at lowland rainforest sites in French Guiana and are accordingly most likely to live with ants, although at present nothing is known about their way of life.

This image shows French Guiana from above, a landscape in which G. spectabilis lives. Credit: Beulah Garner, NHM in London

"The pseudomorphines are a very interesting evolutionary off-shoot of the normal carabid morphotype in both form and function and are only just now beginning to be understood in North America. The fact that species of related genera in South America are living with arboreal ants will make learning about them far more difficult. Insecticidal fogging gets adults of these species, but only tearing apart arboreal Azteca ant nests while suspended in a tree will produce their larvae, and that is not for carabidologists faint of heart," explains the author Dr. Erwin, and his Intern, Lauren Amundson.

This image shows a forest in French Guiana, natural habitat for the new species G. spectabilis. Credit: Beulah Garner, NHM in London


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More information: Erwin TL (2013) Beetles that live with ants (Coleoptera, Carabidae, Pseudomorphini): A remarkable new genus and species from Guyane (French Guiana), Guyanemorpha spectabilis gen. n, sp. n.. ZooKeys 358: 11. DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.358.6298

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