Large Colorful Beetle That Lives With Ants Discovered in Guyane

Posted on January 21, 2014

Guyanemorpha spectabilis or Spectacular Guyane False-form beetle


Scientists from the Smithsonian Institution have discovered the Spectacular Guyane False-form beetle, or Guyanemorpha spectabilis. The beetle is expected to live with ants in their nests in the forests of Guyane (French Guiana) like other members of the Pseudomorphini Tribe. The colorful beetle has a standard body length (sbl) of about 12.107 mm (about half an inch). A research paper about the new beetle was published last month in ZooKeys.

Dr. Terry L. Erwin, the author of the study, compares the importance of the find to the world of entomology to the recent Olinquito discovery.

Dr. Erwin says, "This surprising large and colorful pseudomorphine came as a shock to me, as all other species 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. 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.

Dr. Ewrin and his intern, Lauren Amundson, also says, "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."

Image: Karolyn Darrow, Smithsonian Illustrator and Graphics Specialist