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      Mating marks on museum specimens reveal breeding patterns in species of Pterostichus Bonelli (Carabidae, Pterostichini)

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      Biodiversity Data Journal

      Pensoft Publishers

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          Abstract

          We found distinct and consistently placed, species- and sex-specific abrasions of the cuticle on museum specimens of 14 species of the Pterostichus Bonelli, 1810 (Carabidae, Pterostichini) subgenus Hypherpes Chaudoir, 1838. We deduced that these marks are generated during mating and, therefore, can be used to distinguish between preserved specimens of beetles that had previously mated at the time of capture and those that had not mated. In addition to describing and detailing the occurrence of the marks and providing evidence that they are the result of mating, we demonstrate their utility for inferring life history using a museum voucher collection. By scoring these indications of mating from pinned specimens, we describe life cycle patterns in two similar, relatively closely related and sympatric species of the subgenus Hypherpes, P. vicinus Mannerheim, 1843 and P. californicus (Dejean, 1828). Both were sampled during a pitfall trap study in Contra Costa, California, USA from 2014–2019 and deposited in the Essig Museum of Entomology, UC Berkeley. Both species had very low adult activity through the drought and end of drought period prior to the spring of 2017 and are significantly more abundant in the post-drought period. Based on mating marks, both species responded to accumulated precipitation ending the drought by the emergence of an active, mostly unmated cohort of adults. The spring activity peak, following the end of the drought, was dominated by unmarked and presumably unmated beetles, but samples from subsequent springs included a nearly equal mix of beetles showing mating marks and apparently unmated beetles. The beetle activity appears to correspond more with the accumulated rainfall of the preceding rainy season than with the rains of the sample year. Beetles sampled in autumn and winter (rainy season) predominantly show mating marks. The occurrence throughout the year of beetles that are marked as having mated is consistent with iteroparous beetles with a lifespan of more than one year and also consistent with dynamic phenotypic polyvariance in which the adult activity period is synchronised by adjusting development time. The dominant pattern fits with a life cycle that is typically annual univoltine, or possibly biennial semivoltine in dry years, rainy season breeding (autumn-winter) iteroparous, with adult summer aestivation and possibly facultative larval hibernation. However, unmarked and so apparently unmated individuals and teneral adults were captured during peak activity periods regardless of the season, suggesting that either the beetles diapause as teneral adults that then complete development and become active at various points during the year and/or there are multiple periods of breeding and oviposition each year in at least some portion of the population.

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          Most cited references 28

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          Carabid Beetles in Their Environments

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            The Value of Museum Collections for Research and Society

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              Forty years of carabid beetle research in Europe – from taxonomy, biology, ecology and population studies to bioindication, habitat assessment and conservation

              Abstract ‘Carabidologists do it all’ (Niemelä 1996a) is a phrase with which most European carabidologists are familiar. Indeed, during the last half a century, professional and amateur entomologists have contributed enormously to our understanding of the basic biology of carabid beetles. The success of the field is in no small part due to regular European Carabidologists’ Meetings, which started in 1969 in Wijster, the Netherlands, with the 14th meeting again held in the Netherlands in 2009, celebrating the 40th anniversary of the first meeting and 50 years of long-term research in the Dwingelderveld. This paper offers a subjective summary of some of the major developments in carabidology since the 1960s. Taxonomy of the family Carabidae is now reasonably established, and the application of modern taxonomic tools has brought up several surprises like elsewhere in the animal kingdom. Progress has been made on the ultimate and proximate factors of seasonality and timing of reproduction, which only exceptionally show non-seasonality. Triggers can be linked to evolutionary events and plausibly explained by the “taxon cycle” theory. Fairly little is still known about certain feeding preferences, including granivory and ants, as well as unique life history strategies, such as ectoparasitism and predation on higher taxa. The study of carabids has been instrumental in developing metapopulation theory (even if it was termed differently). Dispersal is one of the areas intensively studied, and results show an intricate interaction between walking and flying as the major mechanisms. The ecological study of carabids is still hampered by some unresolved questions about sampling and data evaluation. It is recognised that knowledge is uneven, especially concerning larvae and species in tropical areas. By their abundance and wide distribution, carabid beetles can be useful in population studies, bioindication, conservation biology and landscape ecology. Indeed, 40 years of carabidological research have provided so much data and insights, that among insects - and arguably most other terrestrial organisms - carabid beetles are one of the most worthwhile model groups for biological studies.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Biodiversity Data Journal
                BDJ
                Pensoft Publishers
                1314-2828
                1314-2836
                September 24 2021
                September 24 2021
                : 9
                Article
                10.3897/BDJ.9.e70897
                © 2021

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