Is the major-minor male dimorphism of the stag beetle (Lucanus cervus) explained by a weaponry and wing investment trade off?

Arno Thomaes, Philippe Camps

    Research output: Contribution to journalA2: Article in a journal with peer review, not included in A1peer-review

    1845 Downloads (Pure)


    The size variation and male dimorphism of stag beetles (Lucanidae) have often been subject of studies but an ecological explanation for this male dimorphism has rarely been given or proven. As the major male clearly invests in weaponry which helps with competing with other males, we especially wonder what is the advantage of the minor morph. We hypothesized that minor males predominantly invest in wings and therefore can fly better and actively look for females. In order to test this 147 live and 164 dead specimens (including 235 males) were measured. We found a positive allometry for mandible length in major males, indicating that large major males relatively invest more in weaponry. Nevertheless, major males also exhibit the largest wings. However, minor males had a lower wing load due to their smaller body size and consequently they can probably fly better. They furthermore invest less in mandibles, giving them even a better mobility when flying on when on ground. Consequently, minor males might be of special importance in fragmented populations for exchange of genetic material.
    Translated title of the contributionWordt het major-minor mannelijk dimorfisme vanVliegend hert (Lucanus cervus) verklaard door een trade off in de investering in bewapening en vleugels?
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalBulletin van de Koninklijke Belgische Vereniging voor Entomologie = Bulletin de la Société royale belge d'entomologie
    Issue number2
    Pages (from-to)152-156
    Number of pages5
    Publication statusPublished - 2016

    Thematic list

    • Insects

    EWI Biomedical sciences

    • B340-animal-morphology

    Taxonomic list

    • stag beetles (Lucanidae)

    Cite this