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Epizoic liverworts, lichens and fungi growing on Costa Rican Shield Mantis (Mantodea: Choeradodis)

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Epizoic foliicolous liverworts and lichens are reported for the first time from insects, two species of the Shield Mantis Choeradodis, C. rhombicollis and C. rhomboidea (Mantodea: Mantidae: Choeradodineae) in Costa Rica. Five species of liverworts, 23 species of lichens, and several unidentified fungi were found growing mainly on the pronotum, but also on the fore wings, of 60 out of 84 individuals collected at various locations in Costa Rican lowland rainforests. The amount of epizoic colonization and the development of the epizoic “epiphyllous” communities were more pronounced in C. rhombicollis versus C. rhomboidea and in females versus males. These differences are potentially explained by a longer lifespan of females, which according to the development of the lichen thalli is suggested to be up to 24 months or more, while males show colonization that mostly corresponds to a lifespan of 12 months or less. While the occurrence of epizoic “epiphylls” in leaf-like insects suggests an enhanced effect of camouflage, we conclude that this occurrence is opportunistic rather than indicating an evolutionary phenomenon.
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Keywords: Choeradodis rhombicollis; Choeradodis rhomboidea; Costa Rica; Hepaticae; Lejeuneaceae; Mantidae; epizoic; foliicolous lichens; masquerade; phytomimesis

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Botany, The Field Museum, Chicago, IL, USA 2: Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad (INBio), Santo Domingo, Heredia, Costa Rica 3: Acosta, Costa Rica

Publication date: 2010-12-01

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