0110. Natural history of <I>Belonuchus</I> Nordmann spp. and allies (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae) in <I>Heliconia</I> L. (Zingiberales: Heliconiaceae) flower bracts


  • J. H. Frank
  • R. Barrera


Culicidae, mosquito larva, mosquito pupa, predation, predator, immersion in water, insect communities


Adults, and in some species larvae, of several members of Belonuchus Nordmann (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae: Staphylininae) and a few related genera seem to be to various degrees consistently associated with flower bracts of the genus Heliconia (Zingiberales: Heliconiaceae). They are predators and eat various dipterous and lepidopterous larvae in that habitat. Adults of at least Belonuchus cephalotes (Sharp) and Odontolinus fasciatus Sharp are able to immerse completely in water to capture larvae and/or pupae of mosquitoes (Culicidae). Adults and larvae of Belonuchus satyrus Erichson, and adults of B. cacao Blackwelder and B. rufipennis (F.) were found in water-filled flower bracts of Heliconia bihai (L.) L. in northern, lowland Venezuela. The bracts also contained mosquito larvae and semiaquatic coleopterous (Chrysomelidae: Hispinae), lepidopterous (Crambidae: Pyraustinae) and dipterous (Syrphidae, Stratiomyidae, Psychodidae, Richardiidae) larvae, and Annelida. In feeding trials, B. satyrus adults and larvae did not feed on hispine larvae or annelids, but did feed on all the lepidopterous and dipterous larvae available to them; adults dragged larvae and pupae of the mosquito genus Toxorhynchites Theobald from shallow water and thus seemed to be the top predators of the food pyramid within bracts. Records are compiled of association of Belonuchus and relatives with Heliconia bracts in the neotropics. We correct the names used for Heliconia spp. by earlier entomological authors working in Venezuela. Their 'Heliconia caribaea Lamarck' is H. bihai (L.) L. and their 'H. aurea Rodríguez' is H. bihai cv. Aurea.