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On the Function of Harlequin Beetle-Riding in the Pseudoscorpion, Cordylochernes scorpioides (Pseudoscorpionida: Chernetidae)

David W. Zeh and Jeanne A. Zeh
The Journal of Arachnology
Vol. 20, No. 1 (1992), pp. 47-51
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3705790
Page Count: 5
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On the Function of Harlequin Beetle-Riding in the Pseudoscorpion, Cordylochernes scorpioides (Pseudoscorpionida: Chernetidae)
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Abstract

The pseudoscorpion, Cordylochernes scorpioides, frequently occurs under the elytra of the giant harlequin beetle, Acrocinus longimanus. Here, we assess four hypotheses/scenarios which have been proposed to account for this phenomenon: (1) accidental boarding; (2) obligate symbiosis; (3) phagophily, and (4) phoretic dispersal. Field and laboratory observations of embarkation behavior clearly refute the accidental boarding hypothesis. Contrary to the obligate symbiosis scenario, pseudoscorpion offspring production does not occur on the beetle and the primary habitat of C. scorpioides is decaying trees. The phagophily hypothesis, i.e., that pseudoscorpions mount harlequins for the primary purpose of preying upon the beetles' phoretic mites, is also not supported. Pseudoscorpions collected from trees were found to be in better nutritional condition than beetle-riding individuals. Finally, evidence from a companion study supports the dispersal hypothesis, and also indicates that large male C. scorpioides defend beetles' abdomens as strategic sites for intercepting and inseminating dispersing females.

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