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Evidence for Male Horn Dimorphism and Related Pronotal Shape Variation in Copris lunaris (Linnaeus, 1758) (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae, Coprini).


ABSTRACT: Male horn dimorphism is a rather common phenomenon in dung beetles, where some adult individuals have well-developed head horns (i.e., major males), while others exhibit diminished horn length (i.e., minor males). We focused on horn dimorphism and associated head and pronotum shape variations in Copris lunaris. We examined the allometric relationship between horn length (i.e., cephalic and pronotal horns) and maximum pronotum width (as index of body size) by fitting linear and sigmoidal models for both sexes. We then asked whether head and pronotum shape variations, quantified using the geometric morphometric approach, contributed to this allometric pattern. We found that female cephalic and pronotal horn growth showed a typical isometric scaling with body size. Horn length in males, however, exhibited sigmoidal allometry, where a certain threshold in body size separated males into two distinct morphs as majors and minors. Interestingly, we highlighted the same allometric patterns (i.e., isometric vs. sigmoidal models) by scaling horn lengths with pronotum shape, making evident that male horn dimorphism is not only a matter of body size. Furthermore, the analysis of shape showed that the three morphs had similar heads, but different pronota, major males showing a more expanded, rounded pronotum than minor males and females. These morphological differences in C. lunaris can ultimately have important functional consequences in the ecology of this species, which should be explored in future work.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC6164466 | BioStudies | 2018-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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