Saturday, January 9, 2010

Pure awesome.

A Termitophilic Staphylinid. So cool it hurts.      Awesome is an overused word. That's why I reserve 'pure awesome' for beasts that really defy imagination. There's no question that Thyreoxenus brevitibialis fits the bill. This bug is totally out of control. For reference, here is a pretty standard Rove beetle.
      The image comes from Taro over at Myrmecoid. I owe Taro for my appreciation of evolution (and a lot of the examples I post here). Taro's an entomological genius (seen here collecting from 'non-personal feces'), so make sure you click on over to his blog. I'll let him give you the low down on this Staphylinid:

      This amazing staphylinid belongs to the aleocharine tribe Corotocini. The corotocines are mainly termite guests. Many exhibit extreme morphologies where most of the body is fleshy and blobby, like this Thyreoxenus species. Although this image is in lateral view, when viewed from above, some of these corotocines (including Thyreoxenus brevitibialis) closely resemble termites.

      Even Richard Dawkins has acknowledged the awesomeness of corotocines in his book Climbing Mount Improbable by stating that Coatonachthodes ovambolandicus is “one of the most astonishing spectacles in all natural history.”

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