Regional collapse of symbiotic specificity between lucanid beetles and canestriniid mites
- First Online:
- Cite this article as:
- Okabe, K., Masuya, H., Kanzaki, N. et al. Naturwissenschaften (2012) 99: 959. doi:10.1007/s00114-012-0979-0
- 217 Downloads
The intensity of interspecific interactions between hosts and symbionts varies among populations of each organism because of differences in the biotic and abiotic environment. We found geographic mosaics in associations between lucanid beetles (Dorcus rectus and Dorcus striatipennis) and symbiotic mites (Haitlingeria sp. and Sandrophela sp., respectively) that were caused by the collapse of host specificity in the northern part of Japan. Haitlingeria sp. was only collected from the surface of the exoskeleton of D. rectus in south and central Japan. Sandrophela sp. showed host specificity in southern to central Japan but was found on both beetle species in areas where Haitlingeria sp. was not found. Because Haitlingeria sp. was able to reproduce on D. rectus collected from Haitlingeria-free regions and no significant differences were observed in average temperature between the host-specific and nonspecific regions bordering on each other, we suggest that the expansion of Haitlingeria sp. in the north has been limited for unknown reasons. When both mites were placed together on D. rectus, only Haitlingeria sp. reproduced, probably because it killed Sandrophela sp., especially juveniles. Thus, we conclude that Sandrophela sp. has expanded its host use to include D. rectus in areas where Haitlingeria sp. is absent. We hypothesise that false host specificity in the canestriniids has been maintained by habitat isolation and/or aggressive behaviour toward competitors. We suggest that host-specific canestriniids provide benefits to hosts that do not develop countermeasures to exclude micro- or macroparasites from their surfaces.