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Heads or tails: exaggerated morphologies in relation to the use of large bamboo internodes in two lizard beetles, Doubledaya ruficollis and Oxylanguria acutipennis (Coleoptera: Erotylidae: Languriinae)


The cavities of bamboos (Poaceae) are used by various animals. Most of the animals access these cavities either by existing cracks or by excavating bamboos with soft walls or small, thin-walled bamboos. Only a few animals excavate into the cavities of large and thick- and hard-walled internodes of mature bamboos. We studied two lizard beetle species (Coleoptera: Erotylidae: Languriinae), Doubledaya ruficollis and Oxylanguria acutipennis, that excavate into large internode cavities of recently dead mature bamboos and have morphological modifications. We observed that females of D. ruficollis used their mandibles to bore oviposition holes on Schizostachyum sp. (mean wall thickness = 3.00 mm) and O. acutipennis did so on Dendrocalamus sp. (3.37 mm) bamboos. Previous studies suggested that the markedly asymmetrical mandibles and needle-like ovipositors of females in the genus Doubledaya are adaptive traits for excavating hard-walled bamboos for oviposition. Therefore, we measured their mandibular lengths and ovipositor lengths. D. ruficollis females had greater asymmetry in the mandibles and shorter and less-sclerotized ovipositors than females of congeners using small bamboos. In contrast, O. acutipennis females had slightly asymmetrical mandibles and elongated, well-sclerotized ovipositors. Oviposition holes of D. ruficollis were cone-shaped (evenly tapering), whereas those of O. acutipennis were funnel-shaped (tube-like at the internal apex). This suggests that D. ruficollis females excavate oviposition holes using the mandibles only, and O. acutipennis females use both the mandibles and ovipositors. These differences suggest different oviposition-associated morphological specialization for using large bamboos: the extremely asymmetrical mandibles in D. ruficollis and elongated, needle-like ovipositors in O. acutipennis.

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