A nematode-filled Bembidion canadianum

Shannon, a student in the Discovering Insect Species course, went down to Eugene last weekend and looked for Trepanedoris. To say that she did well would be an understatement.  She caught all four species that I had seen from the Willamette Valley of Oregon (Bembidion acutifrons, B. elizabethae, B. fortestriatum, and B. siticum), and more.

The real prize was a male of a species I had never seen from this area.  Here’s the live beetle:

V100900.Alive2

At first glance I thought it was an undescribed species, but after looking at it more closely I now think that it is an extremely small specimen of Bembidion canadianum.  I have only ever seen one specimen of Bembidion canadianum from Oregon, collected in 1955 from east of the Cascades, around Upper Klamath Lake.  The specimen is housed in the OSAC.

The specimen Shannon caught was a male with a rather swollen abdomen, and it walked very slowly.  I’ve seen this before, and it usually points to some unpleasantness (at least for the beetle) inside its body cavity, in the form of nematodes.  And, sure enough, when I opened up the abdomen to expose the tissues to ethanol so that the DNA would be well-preserved, there were a lot in there:

V100900.Open

Here’s what part of the abdomen looked like; all of the little white tubes here are nematodes:

V100900.Open.Abdomen

I’ve seen many nematode-filled Bembidion over the years, but this one was unusual, in that it had nematodes of different sizes: a few big ones, and many small ones.  Normally all the nematodes are of more or less the same size. Another thing that is unusual about this beetle is that it still had what appeared to be fairly healthy testes and accessory glands; a nematode-filled Bembidion normally has very little of its own tissue remaining.

Although interesting, the nematodes will cause some problems in extracting beetle DNA from the specimen – as it will be hard to avoid extracting nematode DNA instead!

This entry was posted in Revising Bembidiina, Z499 (Discovering Insect Species) and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to A nematode-filled Bembidion canadianum

  1. Pingback: Discovering Insect Species: Overview in Rearview | The Subulate Palpomere

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s