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Volume 2010, Article ID 723947, 12 pages
Review Article

Coleoptera Larval Fauna Associated with Termite Nests (Isoptera) with Emphasis on the “Bioluminescent Termite Nests” from Central Brazil

1Museu de Zoologia, Universidade de São Paulo, Avenida Nazaré 481, 04263-000 São Paulo, Brazil
2Departamento de Zoologia, Instituto de Biociências, Universidade de São Paulo, Rua do Matão, Travessa 14, 101, 05508-900 São Paulo, Brazil

Received 1 February 2010; Accepted 5 May 2010

Academic Editor: Michael Rust

Copyright © 2010 Cleide Costa and Sergio Antonio Vanin. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Beetle larvae that inhabit termite nests present modifications that allow them to cohabitate with the termites. Some are physogastric and bear special glands and different setae all over their bodies, whereas others are not physogastric. Both kinds of larvae may be termite predators. Some species usually live in the nest cabbage pan, feeding on organic matter, mushrooms, and excrements or eating the nest walls and sometimes causing the nest to be destroyed. Other species live in superficial galleries of the nest and feed on preys that live outside. However, all interactions between these inquilines beetles and their termite hosts are very complex and still little understood. Emphasis was done to the bioluminescent termite nests from Central Brazil and for this reason general aspects of the bioluminescence related to the elaterid fireflies were also given. The adaptations to live in nest environment and functional categories of association of all beetle larvae we have studied, including those not bioluminescent, to termite nests are discussed in this work.