A beetle pretends to be an ant’s butt to hitch a ride

Nymphister kronaueri is a tiny, reddish-brown beetle native to Costa Rica. It lives exclusively among the nomadic army ants of the species Eciton mexicanum. This tiny beetle has found an unusual and rather lazy way of transport. Whenever the ant colony moves on, the beetle attaches itself with its mandibles to the waist of an ant, hitchhiking all the way. It makes the ant look like it has two abdominal segments, one above the other. It’s a quite dangerous ride though – army ants are aggressive predators, dismembering and consuming other insects, spiders, and even scorpions. Looking like an ant’s butt helps reduce the chance of being detected. Photo by Daniel Kronauer