Associations between Emesinae heteropterans and spiders in limestone caves of Minas Gerais, southeastern Brazil

Leonardo P. A. Resende, Tamires Zepon, Maria Elina Bichuette, Robert B. Pape, Hélcio Gil-Santana

Abstract


Emesine bugs, within several genera, are recorded from caves around the world, but have been regarded as uncommon in these habitats. Many emesines have ecological relationships with spiders, as kleptoparasites, predators, or both. However, cave emesines are apparently rarely involved in these arachnophilous relationships, and only two examples have been previously documented. Recent studies in limestone caves at Presidente Olegário in northwestern Minas Gerais, Southeastern Brazil revealed the presence of four emesine species, two of which (Emesa mourei Wygodzinsky, 1946 and Phasmatocoris sp.) were associated with spiders, probably as kleptoparasites. The spiders recorded in these associations were Mesabolivar aff. tandilicus (Mello-Leitão, 1940) (Pholcidae) and Loxosceles similis Moenkhaus, 1898 (Sicariidae). The only non-emesine reduviid recorded in Presidente Olegário caves was Zelurus zikani (Costa Lima, 1940). We discuss these rarely recorded associations between cave emesines and spiders and the importance of protecting Presidente Olegário caves.

Keywords: Arachnophily, Reduviidae, Pholcidae, Sicariidae, subterranean environment.


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