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      Factors determining the direction of ecological specialization in snail-feeding carabid beetles.

      1 , ,
      Evolution; international journal of organic evolution
      Wiley

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          Abstract

          A stout-slender dimorphism in body shape is observed among carabid beetles of the subtribe Carabina, which feed on land snails. We hypothesized that this dimorphism has resulted from divergent ecological specialization for feeding on different-sized land snails. Therefore, we examined whether the geographic variation in the body shape of Damaster blaptoides, a representative snail-feeding species in Japan, is correlated with the size of Euhadra, a genus of land snails frequently consumed by D. blaptoides. An analysis of beetle specimens from the whole distribution area of D. blaptoides determined that more slender beetle populations occurred in localities harboring larger snails, whereas more stout beetles inhabited localities harboring smaller snails. This pattern could be adaptive because slender beetles exhibit high feeding performance for large snails by inserting their heads into the shells, whereas stout beetles do so for small snails by crushing the shells. The D. blaptoides populations showed a clear genetic isolation-by-distance pattern, which could be effective in promoting such local adaptation. Thus, food resources as well as geographic isolation may have promoted adaptive divergence of external morphology in the snail-feeding carabid beetles.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Evolution
          Evolution; international journal of organic evolution
          Wiley
          1558-5646
          0014-3820
          Feb 2011
          : 65
          : 2
          Affiliations
          [1 ] Department of Zoology, Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University, Kitashirakawa-oiwake, Sakyo, Kyoto, 606-8502, Japan. J.Konuma@gmail.com
          Article
          10.1111/j.1558-5646.2010.01150.x
          20977474
          3459b28b-c50c-4ac0-be11-e368fbecbe4b
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