Dr. Michael Caterino and Dr. Alexey Tishechkin have described 85 new species in the genus Baconia, mainly from North and South America. While many groups of beetles are known for spectacular color patterns, they are rare and little-appreciated in the clown beetle family, Histeridae. “Even beetle specialists are amazed by the fantastic colors of Baconia,” Dr. Caterino said. What purposes the colors may serve, however, remains a mystery.
“In natural history terms, the species of Baconia aren’t very different from several other groups of clown beetles with similar habits, but much duller coloration.”
Their beautiful bodies conceal a vicious disposition, as the species are mostly believed to stalk and eat wood-boring beetles and their larvae. Some are even drawn to pheromones of bark beetles, using their own seductive odors against them. The flattened bodies of many of the species let them pursue their prey deep under the bark of recently killed trees.
Reference: Caterino MS, Tishechkin AK. 2013. A systematic revision of Baconia Lewis (Coleoptera, Histeridae, Exosternini). ZooKeys 343: 1 – 297; doi: 10.3897/zookeys.343.5744