Resource Holding Potential and the Outcome of Aggressive Interactions between Paired Male Aegus chelifer chelifer (Coleoptera: Lucanidae) Stag Beetles
Interactions between male stag beetles usually involve aggressive behavior using their long mandibles as weapons to compete with rival males over females. Considerable variation exists within populations in male body size, and may affect their behavior and the outcome of male-male contests. We investigated the aggressive interactions between male Aegus chelifer chelifer, a small tropical stag beetle species. Morphological traits in relation to aggressiveness and the outcome of fights were examined in laboratory-reared beetles. The fight-engagement ratios of major and minor morph males were not significantly different and analyses revealed that the size of body parts had more effect on the fighting success than the weapon part (mandibles). The probability of winning a contest was higher in males with a larger head width (HW), and so HW was considered as the resource holding potential (RHP). No effects of the trait size on the initiation of fights or aggressive intensity was found. Relationships between the fight duration and RHP were not significantly consistent with any assessment strategies, but were close to the mutual assessment model.
KeywordsFight dimorphism assessment mandible body size variation
We would like to thank Dr. Robert Douglas John Butcher for his advice and comments in this work. This research was supported by the 90th Anniversary of Chulalongkorn University Fund (Ratchadaphiseksomphot Endowment Fund).
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