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Christoph von Beeren
Research interests  


Ecology of...

  • myrmecophiles (ant guests)

  • army ants

  • mushroom harvesting ants

Systematics of...​

  • Vatesus beetles

  • ants

  • staphylinids




B1|08, Room 4

Christoph von Beeren, PhD

Fachbereich Biologie

Technische Universität Darmstadt

Schnittspahnstr. 2

64287 Darmstadt


phone: +49 6151-16-22368

My research focuses on biodiversity and species interactions in host-symbiont communities. Nature is full of fascinating creatures and I am fortunate to study some of the most unusual arthropods which make their living by exploiting ant societies. Among the scientists studying these animals, they are known as myrmecophiles, which can be translated as 'ant lovers'. Indeed, some myrmecophiles engage in intimate interactions with host ants, for example mouth-to-mouth feeding or grooming of each other. Not surprisingly then, many of the organisms found in ant colonies depend on this association, i.e. they can be considered to be obligate symbionts. In the last 10 years, I studied various aspects of myrmecophile biology, including host specificity, behavioral,  morphological and chemical adaptations. Among others, I am currently working on a taxonomic revision of the army ant - associated staphylinid genus Vatesus. For more details about the project , a CV, and  images and videos of army ant guests check out my personal page.


In the pipeline

von Beeren C, Tishechkin AK. Taxonomic revision of the army ant-associated histerid genus Aphanister Reichensperger, 1933


Hoenle P, Merkel C, Blüthgen N, Donoso DA, von Beeren C. (in press) Hunting habits die hard: Consistency in prey niche differentiation across two distant army ant communities.


Pedersen KM, von Beeren C, Oggioni A, Blüthgen N (in press). Mammal - dung beetle trophic networks: an improved method based on gut content DNA. PeerJ

Valdivia C, Newton JA, von Beeren CO’Donnell S, Kronauer D, Russell JA, Łukasik P.  Microbial symbionts are shared between ants and their associated beetles. Environmental Microbiology

von Beeren C, Pohl S, Fikáček M, Kleinfelder S, Tishechkin AK, Chani-Posse M, Tokareva A., Żyła D,  Maruyama M., Hall W.E., Sörensson M, Kronauer D.J.C. (2023) Army  ant middens – home and nursery to a diverse beetle fauna. Ecology and Evolution 13:e10451.

Mendoza-Guido B, Rodriguez-Hernández N, Ivens ABF, von Beeren C, Murillo-Cruz C, Zuniga-Chaves I, Lukasik P, Sanchez E, Kronauer DJC, Pinto-Tomás AA (2023) Low diversity and host specificity in the gut microbiome community of Eciton army ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Dorylinae) in a Costa Rican rainforest. Myrmecological News 33:19-34.


Hoenle PO, Donoso DA, Argoti A, Staab M, von Beeren C, Blüthgen N (2022) Rapid ant community re-assembly in a Neotropical forest: recovery dynamics and land-use legacy. Ecological Applications 32: e2559.


von Beeren C., Brückner  A., Hoenle  P.O., Ospina-Jara B., Kronauer D.J.C., & Blüthgen N. (2021). Multiple phenotypic traits as triggers of host attacks towards ant symbionts: body size, morphological gestalt, and chemical mimicry accuracy. Frontiers in Zoology, 18:46;

McKenzie S.K., Winston, M.E., Grewe F., Vargas Asensio G., Rodríguez-Hernández N., Rubin B.E.R., Murillo-Cruz C., von Beeren C., Moreau C.S., Suen G., Pinto-Tomás A.A., & Kronauer D.J.C. (2021). The genomic basis of army ant chemosensory adaptations. Molecular Ecology,

von Beeren C., Blüthgen  N., Hoenle  P.O., Pohl  S., Brückner  A., Tishechkin  A.K., Maruyama  M., Brown  B.V., Hash  J.M., Hall  W.E., Kronauer D.J.C. (2021). A remarkable legion of guests: Diversity and host specificity of army ant symbionts. Molecular Ecology, DOI: 10.1111/mec.16101


Hoenle P.O., Lattke J.E., Donoso D.A., von Beeren C., Heethoff M., Schmelzle S., Argoti A., Camacho L., Stroebel B., Bluethgen N. (2020).  Odontomachus davidsoni sp. nov. (Hymenoptera, Formicidae), a new conspicuous trap-jaw ant from Ecuador. Zookeys 948: 75-105


Lizon à l'Allemand S., Brückner A., Hashim R., Witte V.*, von Beeren C.* (2019). Competition as possible driver of dietary specialisation in the mushroom harvesting ant Euprenolepis procera (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).  Myrmecological News​  29: 79-91 *contributed equally

Hoenle P., Blüthgen N., Brückner A., Kronauer D.J.C., Fiala B., Donoso D., Smith M.A., Ospina Jara B., von Beeren C. (2019).  Species-level predation network uncovers high prey specificity in a Neotropical army ant community. Molecular Ecology​ 28: 2423-2440


Brückner A., Hoenle P., von Beeren C. (2018). Comparative chemical analysis of army ant mandibular gland volatiles (Formicidae: Dorylinae). PeerJ  6:e5319; DOI 10.7717/peerj.5319

O ’ Donnell S., Bulova S., Barrett M.,  von Beeren C. (2018). Brain investment under colony-levelselection: soldier specialization in Eciton army ants (Formicidae: Dorylinae). BMC Zoology, 3:3

von Beeren C., Brückner A., Maruyama M., Burke G., Wieschollek J.,   Kronauer J.C. (2018). Chemical and behavioral integration of army ant-associated rove beetles -  a comparison between specialists and generalists. Frontiers in Zoology, 15:8.


Brückner A., Klompen H., Bruce A.I., Hashim R., von Beeren C. (2017). Infection of army ant pupae by two new parasitoid mite species (Mesostigmata: Uropodina). PeerJ 5:e3870; DOI 10.7717/peerj.3870

Tishechkin A.K.T., Kronauer D.J.C., and von Beeren C. (2017). Taxonomic review and natural history notes of the army ant-associated beetle genus Ecclisister Reichensperger (Histeridae: Haeteriinae). Coleopterists Bulletin, 72:279-288.

von Beeren C. and Tishechkin A.K.T. (2017). Nymphister kronaueri von Beeren & Tishechkin sp. nov., an army ant-associated beetle species (Coleoptera: Histeridae: Haeteriinae) with an exceptional mechanism of phoresy. BMC Zoology, 2:3.


von Beeren C., Maruyama M., and Kronauer D.J.C. (2016) Community sampling and integrative taxonomy reveal new species and host specificity in the army ant-associated beetle genus Tetradonia (Coleoptera, Staphylinidae, Aleocharinae) PLOS ONE, 11(11): e0165056.

Ivens A.B.F.*, von Beeren C.*, Blüthgen N., and Kronauer D.J.C. (2016). Studying the complex communities of ants and their symbionts using ecological network analysis. Annual Reviews of Entomology, 61:353-371, * contributed equally


von Beeren C., Maruyama M., and Kronauer D.J.C. (2016). Cryptic diversity, high host specificity and reproductive synchronization in army ant-associated Vatesus beetles. Molecular Ecology, 25:990-1005



von Beeren C., Stoeckle M.Y., Xia J., Burke G., and Kronauer D.J.C. (2015). Interbreeding among deeply divergent mitochondrial lineages in the American cockroach (Periplaneta americana). Scientific Reports, 5:8297


Ott, R., von Beeren, C., Hashim, R., Witte, V. and Harvey S. (2015). Sicariomorpha, a new myrmecophilous goblin spider genus (Araneae, Oonopidae) associated with Asian army ants. American Museum Novitates, 3843: 1-14


Fikacek M., Maruyama M., Komatsu T., von Beeren C., Vondracek D. and Short A. (2015). Protosternini (Coleoptera: Hydrophilidae) corroborated as monophyletic and its larva described for the first time: a review of the myrmecophilous genus Sphaerocetum. Invertebrate Systematics, 29:23-36




von Beeren, C., Lizon à l'Allemand, S., Hashim, R. and Witte, V. (2014). Collective exploitation of a temporally unpredictable food source: mushroom harvesting by the ant Euprenolepis procera. Animal Behaviour, 89: 71-77


von Beeren, C., Mair, M.M. and Witte V. (2014). Discovery of a second mushroom harvesting ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Malayan tropical rainforests. Myrmecological News, 20: 37-42




von Beeren C., Hashim R. and Witte V. (2012). The social integration of a myrmecophilous spider does not depend exclusively on chemical mimicry. Journal of Chemical Ecology, 38:262-271


von Beeren C., Pohl S. and Witte V. (2012). On the use of adaptive resemblance terms in chemical ecology. Psyche, review article, Article ID 635761,  doi:10.1155/2012/635761




von Beeren C., Schulz S., Hashim R. and Witte V. (2011). Acquisition of chemical recognition cues facilitates integration into ant societies. BMC Ecology, 11:30


von Beeren C., Maruyama M., Rosli H. and Witte V. (2011). Differential host defense against multiple parasites in ants. Evolutionary Ecology, 25:259-276


Mendes L. F., von Beeren C. and Witte V. (2011). Malayatelura ponerophila – a new genus and species of silverfish (Zygentoma, Insecta) from Malaysia, living in Leptogenys army-ant colonies (Formicidae). Deutsche Entomologische Zeitschrift, 58:193-200




Maruyama M., von Beeren C. and Witte V. (2010). Aleocharine rove beetles (Coleoptera, Staphylinidae) associated with Leptogenys Roger, 1861 (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) II. Two new genera and two new species associated with L. borneensis Wheeler, 1919. Zookeys, 59:61-72


Maruyama M., von Beeren C. and Hashim R. (2010). Aleocharine rove beetles (Coleoptera, Staphylinidae) associated with Leptogenys Roger, 1861 (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) I. Review of three genera associated with L. distinguenda (Emery, 1887) and L. mutabilis (Smith, 1861) Zookeys, 59:47-60 


Disney R. H. L., Lizon à l'Allemand S., von Beeren C. and Witte V. (2009). A new genus and new species of scuttle flies (Diptera: Phoridae) from colonies of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Malaysia. Sociobiology, 53:1-12


Kistner D. H., von Beeren C. and Witte V. (2008). Redescription of the generitype of Trachydonia and a new host record for Maschwitzia ulrichi (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae). Sociobiology, 52:497-524


Sommer S., von Beeren C. and Wehner R. (2008). Multiroute memories in desert ants. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science U.S.A., 105:317-322 [pdf]


Popular science article

von Beeren C. and Kronauer D (2016). Exploring the Guests of Army Ants. Barcode Bulletin 7: 4-5.

von Beeren C. and Witte V. (2012). Tarnung eines Ameisenparasiten. Biologie in unserer Zeit, 42:15-16.




von Beeren C. (2012). Social integration of macroparasites in ant societies: ultimate and proximate mechanisms. pp. 1-161,


Grants and scholarships

  • starting in Nov 2019: 3-year DFG project with own position

  • 2016-2019: 3-year DFG project with own position


  • 2016: DFG return scholarship (6-month DFG Rückkehrstipendium)

  • 2015-2016: Bristol-Myers Squibb Postdoctoral Fellowship (1 year fellowship)


  • 2013-2015: DFG scholarship for a two-year post-doc position in New York (Forschungsstipendium)


  • 2014: Grant of the 'National Geographic Society's Committee for Research and Exploration'


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