The long-awaited first instar larva of Paussus favieri (Coleoptera: Carabidae: Paussini)

Andrea di Giulio, Emanuela Maurizi, Peter Hlaváč, Wendy Moore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Paussus favieri Fairmaire is one of only two species of the myrmecophilous carabid tribe Paussini known from Europe. Larvae are known from only 10 of the 580 paussine species. As in many beetles with considerably modified later instar larvae, the first instars represent a valuable source of informative characters for taxonomy and phylogenetic analyses (primary chaetotaxy, egg-bursters, etc.). Therefore, the discovery of the first instar larva of P. favieri is particularly important, as it represents only the second species for which this larval stage is known. In this paper we describe the behavior and morphology of the larval first instar of P. favieri (subtribe Paussina of Paussini) and compare it with that of Arthropterus sp. (subtribe Cerapterina), which is the only other 1st instar described in the Paussini. Most surprisingly, we found that the 1st instar of P. favieri lacks a prostheca, which was previously thought to be a synapomorphy of Paussina + Platyrhopalina. Rather, P. favieri has a unique mandibular structure that seems to be functionally analogous to the protheca. It is a long, broadly lanceolate, distinctly flattened structure apparently homologous to the medial mandibular seta (MN2*), which arises from an area behind the cutting edge of mandible. We predict that the function of the protheca and this similar structure in P. favieri are involved in a specialized feeding strategy that may include soliciting trophallaxis from their host ants. We also report some observations of the first instar hatching from the egg, feeding on liquid and a behaviour we interpret as a "calling behavior," all of which were videotaped and posted on the Tree of Life Web Project.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-138
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Journal of Entomology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2011


  • Carabidae
  • First instar larva
  • Flanged bombardier beetles
  • Formicidae
  • Functional morphology
  • Myrmecophily
  • Paussini
  • Paussus favieri
  • Pheidole pallidula
  • Taxonomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Insect Science


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