Ambrosia beetles feed on the alcoholic fungus they cultivate on dead trees so finding a gratis pint in the garden is a bonus

Those enjoying a cool beer in the garden this summer, at least in the southern half of England, may find an ambrosia beetle swimming about in it. These 6mm beetles, also known as oak pinhole borers, have a remarkable trick of cultivating ambrosia fungi, which produces alcohol, hence their liking for beer.

The beetles, Platypus cylindrus, carry spores of the ambrosia fungi about with them so that when colonising dead or dying trees they can start growing the fungus on which they and their offspring feed. One of the benefits for them in farming this particular fungus is that alcohol is toxic to many competing beetles and fungi so they carve out a patch untroubled by competition.

Continue reading…

Read More Specieswatch: What’s this beetle doing in my beer? He’s under the table I fear

Facebook Comments