Ecological Research

, Volume 29, Issue 6, pp 1105–1113 | Cite as

Intra-population variation and geographic correlation in Canthon humectus hidalgoensis using FTIR-ATR spectroscopy

  • José R. VerdúEmail author
  • Belén Gallego
  • Jorge M. Lobo
  • Antonio J. Ortiz
  • Vieyle Cortez
  • Gonzalo Halffter
Original Article


In some cases external morphology is not sufficient to discern between populations of a species, as occurs in the dung beetle Canthon humectus hidalgoensis Bates; and much less to determine phenotypic distances between them. FTIR-ATR spectroscopy show several advantages over other identification techniques (e.g. morphological, genetic, and cuticular hydrocarbons analysis) due to the non-invasive manner of the sample preparation, the relative speed of sample analysis and the low-cost of this technology. The infrared spectrum obtained is recognized to give a unique ‘fingerprint’ because vibrational spectra are specific and unique to the molecular nature of the sample. In our study, results showed that proteins, amino acids and aromatic ethers of insect exocuticle have promising discriminative power to discern between different populations of C. h. hidalgoensis. Furthermore, the correlation between geographic distances between populations and the chemical distances obtained by proteins + amino acids + aromatic ethers was statistically significant, showing that the spectral and spatial information available of the taxa together with appropriated chemometric methods may help to a better understanding of the identity, structure, dynamics and diversity of insect populations.


Chemical differentiation Dung beetles Multivariate statistical methods Population differentiation Scarabaeidae 



We thank Dr J. Juan and Dr T. Soler for the introduction and technical assistance of FTIR-ATR spectrophotometer. Financial support was provided by the Projects CGL2008/03878/BOS and CGL2011-25544 of the Secretaría de Estado de Investigación-Ministerio de Educación, Ciencia e Innovación, OAPN 762/2012, Ministerio de Agricultura, Alimentación y Medio Ambiente and CONACYT México (49472-Q).


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Copyright information

© The Ecological Society of Japan 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • José R. Verdú
    • 1
    Email author
  • Belén Gallego
    • 1
  • Jorge M. Lobo
    • 2
  • Antonio J. Ortiz
    • 3
  • Vieyle Cortez
    • 1
  • Gonzalo Halffter
    • 4
  1. 1.I.U.I. CIBIOUniversidad de AlicanteAlicanteSpain
  2. 2.Departmento de Biodiversidad y Biología EvolutivaMuseo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales-CSICMadridSpain
  3. 3.Departmento de Química Inorgánica y Química OrgánicaUniversidad de JaénJaénSpain
  4. 4.Instituto de Ecología, A.C.XalapaMexico

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