n African Entomology - The phoretic association between Cyaneolytta Péringuey (Coleoptera: Meloidae) triungulins and Anthia Weber (Coleoptera: Carabidae) in southern Africa - short communication

Volume 26 Number 2
  • ISSN : 1021-3589



Phoresis is the interspecific symbiotic association in which one of two participants, the phoront, utilises the other participant in the association (the host) for mechanical transport. The association is seldom obligatory although it may be a common occurrence involving certain specific participants. Examples include flightless arthropods such as mites and pseudoscorpions being transported by larger winged insects, or between small flightless insects and larger species. The transport may be occasional and facultative or more fixed – the main function is to facilitate dispersal to other suitable habitats, or to food.Well-known examples include dung beetles (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) transporting predatory mesostigmatic mites, and the wingless ‘bee louse’, Braula coeca (Diptera: Braulidae) and its host the honeybee, Apis mellifera (Hymenoptera: Apidae). In the former case, the mites are transported between dung sources where they prey on detritus-feeding mites and fly eggs, while, although the bee louse is an obligatory symphile in honeybee nests where it depends on the bees and their products for food, dispersal between colonies is dependent on absconding bees. However, the lines between phoresis and parasitism become somewhat blurred in cases such as that of B. coeca and A. mellifera since most of the association between them is actually one of benign parasitism by the fly of the host over much of the fly’s life-cycle and phoresis is only involved during dispersal. And, although phoresis is considered to occur at no cost to the host, during the larger, parasitic, part of this association there is obviously some (Kistner 1982).

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