Some myrmecophilous animals show myrmecomorphy, however, its adaptive significance is still controversial. We investigated a possible benefit of Batesian mimicry between a myrmecophilous staphylinid beetle, Pella comes, and its host ant, Lasius (Dendrolasius) spathepus, by using a common ant predator, the Japanese treefrog, Hyla japonica. In the field, H. japonica were found to feed on numerous ants and other insects, but in laboratory experiments they refused feeding on L. spathepus. L. spathepus was highly repellent to these frogs, while P. comes was potentially palatable. After repeated contacts with L. spathepus which led to its avoidance, the treefrogs started to reject P. comes as well. This suggests that myrmecomorphy is beneficial to P. comes, reducing the risk of predation, and that it may represent a case of Batesian mimicry.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Insect Science