Female mimicry and resource defense polygyny by males of a tropical rove beetle, Leistotrophus versicolor (Coleoptera : Staphylinidae)

Summary

Adults of the staphylinid beetle Leistotrophus versicolor Grav. aggregate at vertebrate dung and carrion where males and females forage for adult Diptera. Some males aggressively exclude others from dung and carrion. Winners in male combat gain access to many females, which are often receptive at these foraging sites. The mating system can be categorized as resource defense polygyny. Males vary greatly in size, are larger than females on average, and have allometrically enlarged mandibles that they use in fighting. Large males consistently defeat smaller ones. Some males employ female mimicry in order to avoid aggression, remaining at dung where they forage and even obtain copulations while being courted by rival males. Female mimicry is most often practiced by males that are smaller than their rivals or by males that are unable to use their jaws aggressively because they are feeding or courting females when encountered by an opponent. Female mimicry is a conditional tactic of mature males; some individuals behave like females toward larger males but attack smaller rivals.

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Forsyth, A., Alcock, J. Female mimicry and resource defense polygyny by males of a tropical rove beetle, Leistotrophus versicolor (Coleoptera : Staphylinidae). Behav Ecol Sociobiol 26, 325–330 (1990). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00171097

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Keywords

  • Mating System
  • Mature Male
  • Small Rival
  • Large Male
  • Gain Access