ISSN 2816-6531

First record in Quebec and biological data for Hylota cryptica Klimaszewski & Webster (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae, Aleocharinae)

Tags: Aleocharinae, Arthropoda, Camponotus herculeanus, Coleoptera, Formicidae, Hylota cryptica, Insecta, Quebec, Staphylinidae
Number 4, 
9 November 2022


The Nearctic genus Hylota Casey encompasses two species: H. ochracea Casey and the recently described H. cryptica Klimaszewski & Webster (Webster et al., 2016; Brunke & Buffam, 2018; Klimaszewski et al., 2018). Hylota ochracea, the type species of the genus, is widely distributed throughout Canada: New Brunswick, Northern Territory, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan; and in the Northeastern United States: New York and Vermont (Klimaszewski et al., 2018). Until now, H. cryptica was only known to occur in Alberta, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Ontario (Klimaszewski et al., 2018; Brunke et al., 2021). Four specimens of H. cryptica were recently sampled in Eeyou Istchee, James Bay and Sainte-Catherine-de-la-Jacques-Cartier, Quebec, Canada, inside the nests of the carpenter ant, Camponotus herculeanus (Linnaeus) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae, Formicinae). These collections represent the first documented records of H. cryptica for the province of Quebec and the first biological data reported for this species.

Results and Discussion

Hylota cryptica (Fig. 1a) can be separated externally from H. ochracea by its antennomeres V-X slightly elongate (transverse in H. ochracea) and the apical margin of male tergite VIII slightly crenulate (with small teeth in H. ochracea). It can also be differentiated from H. ochracea by its male and female genitalia (Fig. 1b & 1c) (Klimaszewski et al., 2018). Hylota ochracea is known to live in bird nests such as pigeon coops and in nests of several owl species (Brunke & Buffam, 2018; Klimaszewski et al., 2018). It can also be found in decaying matter (Klimaszewski et al., 2018). Until now, the biology of H. cryptica remained unknown, since the species was mostly collected using flight-based traps such as flight intercept, Lindgren funnel, and Malaise traps, but also in dead wood and by beating plants (Klimaszewski et al., 2018; Brunke et al., 2021). It was suspected that this species could have a similar biology as H. ochracea (Brunke & Buffam, 2018; Klimaszewski et al., 2018; Brunke et al., 2021). However, the specimens in the present work were manually sampled by the first author from two nests of the carpenter ant, Camponotus herculeanus (Linnaeus) (Fig. 2), in conifer stumps in two different regions. The nests were both in old mixed forests with a closed canopy. Both ant colonies were mature, each producing brood and numbering over 2000 workers. According to the observations of the first author, no bird nest was observed in the stumps, the latter being entirely colonized by thousands of ants. Given these conditions, it is possible that H. cryptica is myrmecophilous. Further in situ observations will be required to confirm this hypothesis.


The authors acknowledge Jean-Philippe Lessard (Concordia University) and Ehab Abouheif (McGill University) for their guidance and support throughout the research project of the first author during which the specimens were sampled; Dominic Ouellette (Insectarium, Montreal Space for Life) for his help during the field work; Colin Favret (Ouellet-Robert Entomological Collection, University of Montreal) for the use of the microscopy equipment in his laboratory and his advice; Jan Klimaszewski (emeritus scientist, Pacific Forestry Centre, Victoria, BC) for proofreading the manuscript. These findings would not have been possible without support from Concordia University, McGill University and the Quebec Centre for Biodiversity Science (QCBS).




Klimaszewski J., Webster R.P., Langor D.W., Brunke A., Davies A., Bourdon C., Labrecque M., Newton A.F., Dorval J.-A., Frank J.H. 2018. Aleocharine Rove Beetles of Eastern Canada (Coleoptera, Staphylinidae, Aleocharinae): A Glimpse of Megadiversity. Springer. 902 pp.



Fig. 1. A. Dorsal habitus of a male specimen of Hylota cryptica Klimaszewski & Webster (apical part of abdomen removed), specimen CTT2504 (scale 500 μm); B. median lobe of aedeagus of the male specimen in lateral view (scale 100 μm); C. spermatheca, specimen CTT2503 (scale 100 μm).


Fig. 2. Dorsal habitus of a worker specimen of Camponotus herculeanus (Linnaeus), specimen LLC-B036-X002 (scale 1 mm).