A preliminary assessment of the physiological and morphological correlates of beetle aggression in an emerging sugarcane pest, Cacosceles newmannii (Thomson, 1877) (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae)





Understanding the morphological and physiological correlates of competitive behaviours can provide important insights into the ecology of competition, home range size and resource consumption. Here we first estimated and defined sexual dimorphism in a poorly studied African cerambycid species, Cacosceles newmannii (Thomson, 1877). We then assessed morphological and physiological attributes of male beetles in relation to their fighting behaviour. Suites of morphological and energetic measurements were carried out on adult males, the latter before and after male-male interactions. Aggressive behaviour and the outcomes of male fighting trials were assessed under controlled conditions. The species is highly sexually dimorphic in relation to mandible size. During male-male interactions, a continuum of behaviours with an increasing risk of injury and metabolic cost was observed. Grasping was prolonged in males with larger fighting apparatus, who also tended to use more energy during the encounter than males displaying other behaviours. Our results indicate that the mandible size in C. newmannii serves as an honest signal of fighting ability in this species. Additionally, energetic assessments in preparation for fighting, costs during a fight, and persistence of metabolic costs post-fighting may be useful for understanding the relative fitness costs of competition.


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How to Cite

Javal M, Le Moëne O, Smit C, Conlong DE, Terblanche JS. A preliminary assessment of the physiological and morphological correlates of beetle aggression in an emerging sugarcane pest, Cacosceles newmannii (Thomson, 1877) (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae). Afr. Entomol. [Internet]. 2022 May 17 [cited 2022 Jul. 4];30. Available from: https://www.africanentomology.com/article/view/10928