Beetle, Fungus, Tree Relationship.

There is a unique relationship between symplastless wood of eastern hemlock, a fungus and a beetle.  The fungus is called Ganoderma tsugae and it is partial to conifers--especially hemlock.   The common name of the beetle is the pleasing fungus beetle.  The scientific name is Pseudischyrus, Tritoma, Megalodacne, Ischyrus spp. (Insecta: Coleoptera: Erotylidae).  The bright color patterns of pleasing fungus beetles never fail to attract attention, but because of their cryptic habits they are rarely seen except by the dedicated mushroom hunters and entomologists. They feed on Ganoderma tsugae.  I have only seen beetles where there is Ganoderma tsugae and I have only seen the Ganoderma tsugae in a wilderness area and in old growth forest.  Basically, only in areas where the hemlocks are permitted to go through their ecological stages.  This relationship is only one of many that eastern hemlock trees take on through their ecological stages. I am personally fascinated by this relationship.  I first noticed it when obtaining optimum fertility test for eastern hemlock and studying eco-art nurse logs.  Another common associate is the eastern white pine (Pinus Strobus).  Pleasing fungus beetles feed on the fruiting bodies of fungi.  A wide variety of fungi serves as hosts for the family as a whole, but each pleasing fungus beetle species seems to be specific to a certain group of fungi. The species with larger individuals, such as Megalodacne spp., feed in the harder bracket fungi (Ganoderma spp.) found on symplastless trees and stumps.  There is so much to learn.   

Pictures provided by Edward Frank


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