Sunday, May 10, 2015

Cannibalistic behavior in Ontholestes cingulatus? [Updated]

Few days ago a colleague brought six live specimens of Ontholestes murinus  cingulatus in a jar. I could not deal with them at that time so I let them be. The next morning there were five beetles in the jar and bits and pieces of a sixth one. I quick search on Google did not bring any hits on cannibalism in this species, but I would guess that this is probably rather common for carnivorous species trapped in a small space with no other food resources.

On an unrelated note, I could not find any records of O. murinus (which has its native range in Europe) from TN, at least not in iDigBio, GBIF or Bugguide.net but of course that does not say much. So perhaps this is a first record for the state.  There are records for TN for O. cingulatus from the Smokies, but not from southern TN.

Update: I should point out that the photograph on the right is from a historical specimen (as evident by the "green rust" near the pin).

Update 2: Well, crap. I was wrong, It is not O. murinus but rather O. cingulatus. I was fooled by the dirt on the specimens and did not notice that their legs were bicolored instead of solid black as in the picture....