The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Inquiline
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|Edition of 1920. See also Inquiline on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.|
INQUILINE, ĭn'kwĭ-lĭn, a term applied in zoology to animals which live as tenants within the nests or homes of other animals. The use of the term is almost entirely confined to entomology and then often restricted to the cases in which the rightful and the intruding tenants are closely related. Similar cases among other animals are commonly designated as commensalism (q.v.), but these and similar terms are used rather loosely. Examples of the inquiline relation occur among the termites, ants and bees, but are known especially among the gall-flies (Cynipidæ); indeed, one entire division, comprising more than 500 species, is named Inquilinæ, because of the predominance of this mode of life. These insects differ but little in structure from the true gall-flies, but they lack the power to produce galls and consequently deposit their eggs within those of other species. They infest certain species of galls, as those of the blackberry and some oak-galls, in large numbers and sometimes more than one kind occur in a single gall. Perhaps the most remarkable feature of these inquilines is their frequent close resemblance to the insect which produces the gall which they infest.