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Psyche
Volume 101, Issue 3-4, Pages 159-173
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/1994/96412

Specialized Predation on Oribatid Mites by Two Species of the Ant Genus Myrmecina (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

School of Business Administration, Senshu University, Kawasaki 214, Japan

Received 1 March 1994

Copyright © 1994 Keiichi Masuko.

Abstract

Specialized predation on oribatid mites was confirmed in two Japanese species of the myrmicine genus Myrmecina, the first instance in the Formicidae. Using the mouthparts and legs, a worker skillfully tears a hole in the oribatid body and gives the partly dismembered prey to a larva. During food preparation workers bend the gaster forward deeply and raise their anterior body thus making the working posture stable; both seem necessary for handling such round slippery prey as oribatid mites. The larva of Myrmecina has a peculiarly elongate head which it inserts into an oribatid body and consumes the contents.