The Science of Nature

, 106:50 | Cite as

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)

  • Wataru TokiEmail author
  • Susumu Matsuo
  • Hong Thai Pham
  • Paulus Meleng
  • Chow-Yang Lee
Original Article


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.


Directional asymmetry Exaggerated morphology Gena Languriini Mandible Ovipositor 



We wish to thank Shu-Ching Chen, Edmund Hang, Tomoki Hirano, Tuan Anh Hoang, Takao Itioka, Kunpeng Liu, Van Hien Luong, Ko Mochizuki, Ryosuke Okano, Usun Shimizu-Kaya, Fusako Toki, Thi Men Tran, and Hiroyuki Yoshitomi for help with the field work, Nguyen Khac Khoi and Chin-Ming Lu for identification of Vietnamese bamboos, Ryutaro Iwata for the literature, and Yoshihiro Senda, Keizo Takasuka, and Katsumi Togashi for helpful information. We also thank Cuc Phuong National Park, Vietnam, and Lambir Hills National Park, Sarawak, Malaysia, for allowing us to conduct the field survey.

Funding information

This study was supported by the Fujiwara Natural History Foundation, a Grant for Basic Science Research Projects from the Sumitomo Foundation (170744), a KAKENHI Grant (25840153, 18K14473) from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), and the Vietnam National Foundation for Science and Technology Development (NAFOSTED) (106-NN.05-2016.04). WT was supported by a JSPS Grant-in-Aid for JSPS Fellows (201501207).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wataru Toki
    • 1
    Email author
  • Susumu Matsuo
    • 2
  • Hong Thai Pham
    • 3
    • 4
  • Paulus Meleng
    • 5
  • Chow-Yang Lee
    • 6
    • 7
  1. 1.Graduate School of Bioagricultural SciencesNagoya UniversityNagoyaJapan
  2. 2.NagasakiJapan
  3. 3.Vietnam National Museum of Nature (VNMN)Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST)HanoiVietnam
  4. 4.Graduate School of Science and TechnologyVietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST)HanoiVietnam
  5. 5.Research Development and Innovation DivisionForest Department SarawakKuchingMalaysia
  6. 6.Urban Entomology Laboratory, Vector Control Research Unit, School of Biological SciencesUniversiti Sains MalaysiaPenangMalaysia
  7. 7.Department of EntomologyUniversity of CaliforniaRiversideUSA

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