Held aloft by a canopy crane nearly 10 stories above the forest floor, Susan Kirmse observed and collected beetles in the rainforest canopy for an entire year. What did she find? Amazonian treetops are crawling with beetles, and they love little white flowers. As part of her Ph.D. research for Leipzig University, Germany, Kirmse collected 859 species of beetles (6,698 individuals) from the canopies of 23 different tree species in a healthy lowland tropical rainforest in southern Venezuela in the late 1990s. The Surumoni Crane in Venezuela allowed Kirmse to collect beetles from the rainforest canopy.  Image by Susan Kirmse (CC BY-ND). After decades of tedious work to identify all of the beetles and trees, Kirmse and her colleague, Caroline Chaboo from the University of Nebraska State Museum, have recently published a study in the Journal of Natural History. Kirmse and Chaboo suggest that flowering trees play an important role in maintaining canopy beetle diversity in the Amazon and that these trees are being visited by beetles more than any other insect order, including bees and butterflies. More than 75% of the beetle species Kirmse collected were found living exclusively on flowering trees, and 36% were found only on trees with small white flowers. This, the authors say, means that flowering trees are important food and resource for canopy beetles. A lot of research into pollination is dominated by the roles of bees and butterflies, Kirmse told Mongabay, but this work shows that, in a pristine rainforest, beetles have a…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer