A few weeks ago, I flipped a rock in western New York state, and found a cluster of Crematogaster ants.
There had already been a frost, and the ants were apparently using the rock as a warm place to huddle.
At first I was admiring the ants, and the orange-brown insect didn’t really register. After all, we commonly see cockroaches that look a lot like that under rocks here in Phoenix. We have Turkistan roaches everywhere.
Then it dawned on me, I was in an old-growth field, at least 1/2 mile from a house. Plus, that area of rural western New York is not known for Turkistan cockroaches.
Could it be a myrmecophile cockroach? A few species of cockroaches are known to be myrmecophiles. In fact, Hocking (1970) had found found Blattella lobiventris with Crematogaster mimosae in acacia thorns (Holldobler and Wilson’s The Ants).
This little insect also looks a little bit like the Eastern ant cricket, Myrmecophilus pergandei (see BugGuide images), although it seems to lack the enlarged back legs for jumping.
What do you think?
Here’s an excerpt about cockroaches in ant nests from
Cockroaches: Ecology, Behavior, and Natural History
By William J. Bell, Louis M. Roth, Christine A. Nalepa