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

Onderzoeksoutput: Bijdrage aan tijdschriftA2: Artikel in een tijdschrift met peer review, dat niet inbegrepen is in A1

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Originele taal-2Engels
TijdschriftBulletin van de Koninklijke Belgische Vereniging voor Entomologie = Bulletin de la Société royale belge d'entomologie
Volume152
Tijschrift nummer2
Pagina's (van-tot)152-156
Aantal pagina's5
ISSN1374-8297
StatusGepubliceerd - 2016

Abstract

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.

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