Researches on Population Ecology

, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 105–110 | Cite as

The evolutionary significance of wing dimorphism in carabid beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae)

  • Berend Aukema
Special Issue: Dispersal Polymorphism in Insects: Its Adaptation and Evolution Part 2


A review of data on the background of wing dimorphism in carabid beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) and especially of the closely relatedCalathus cinctus andC. melanocephalus is given. In bothCalathus species wing dimorphism is inherited in a simple Mendelian fashion with the brachypterous condition dominant, but inC. melanocephalus the expression of the long winged genotype is under environmental control as well. The development of long winged phenotypes in the latter species is favoured by relatively favourable environmental conditions, such as high temperatures and a high food-supply. The higher fecundity of the larger and heavier long winged females of both species may compensate for losses of long winged phenotypes by flight activities. The evolutionary significance of both types of inheritance is discussed in relation to dispersal. The ‘fixed type’ as found inC. cinctus is considered an opportunistic short term ‘between sites strategy’, whereas the ‘dynamic type’ ofC. melanocephalus represents a flexible long term ‘within sites strategy’.

Key words

Carabidae Calathus cinctus Calathus melanocephalus wing dimorphism evolutionary significance 


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Copyright information

© the Society of Population Ecology 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Berend Aukema
    • 1
  1. 1.Entomology SectionPlant Protection ServiceWageningenThe Netherlands

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