Neotropical Entomology

, Volume 46, Issue 1, pp 36–44 | Cite as

Morphological Traits of Two Seed-Feeding Beetle Species and the Relationship to Resource Traits

  • L F MaiaEmail author
  • J Tuller
  • L D B Faria
Ecology, Behavior and Bionomics


Morphological traits are useful to investigate insect sex-related differences in body size and to reveal differences in resource use. It has been suggested that as the resource increases, so does the body size of organisms interacting with the resource, highlighting the crucial role of resource quality and quantity in determining the morphological traits of organisms interacting with the resource. Here, we describe morphological traits of two species of Bruchinae, Merobruchus terani (Kingsolver 1980) and Stator maculatopygus (Pic 1930), consuming seeds of Senegalia tenuifolia (Fabaceae: Mimosoideae). We evaluated the influence of monthly sample and sampling sites on tibia and femur length and biomass. In addition, we tested two predictions in which body size related to resource amount and body size related to longevity. Males of M. terani were heavier than females, whereas the two sexes of S. maculatopygus did not differ in biomass. Both species had larger body sizes in the late ripe-fruit stage. With respect to sampling sites, biomass of M. terani did not differ, whereas S. maculatopygus did differ in biomass. Merobruchus terani showed a positive relationship with seed traits, whereas S. maculatopygus showed no relationship. At the same time, fruit traits showed a negative effect on morphological traits for both beetle species. The longevity experiment, performed using only M. terani, showed an equal longevity and seed consumption rate for both sexes. Our study indicates that different species, interacting in the same system and performing similar functional behaviors, respond differently to the same resource.


Body size tibia length seed traits Merobruchus terani Stator maculatopygus Senegalia tenuifolia 



We thank Ribeiro-Costa, C.S. for beetle identification and França, F.M. for the comments on the manuscript. We also thank the anonymous referees for their valuable comments on this study. Faria, L.D.B. thanks the Minas Gerais Research Foundation (FAPEMIG) and the Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) for financial support. Maia, L.F. and Tuller, J. thank the Brazilian Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES) for providing the scholarships.

Supplementary material

13744_2016_436_MOESM1_ESM.doc (368 kb)
ESM 1 Supplementary Material (DOC 367 kb)


  1. Amarillo-Suárez AR, Stillwell RC, Fox CW (2011) Natural selection on body size is mediated by multiple interacting factors: a comparison of beetle populations varying naturally and experimentally in body size. Ecol Evol 1:1–14. doi: 10.1002/ece3.1 CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  2. Bukovinszky T, van Veen FJF, Jongema Y, Dicke M (2008) Direct and indirect effects of resource quality on food web structure. Science 319:804–807. doi: 10.1126/science.1148310 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Campbell JF (2000) Influence of seed size on exploitation by the rice weevil, Sithophilus oryzae. J Insect Behav 15(3):429–445. doi: 10.1023/A:1016225427886 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Colgoni A, Vamosi SM (2006) Sexual dimorphism and allometry in two seed beetles (Coleoptera: Bruchidae). Entomol Sci 9:171–179. doi: 10.1111/j.1479-8298.2006.00164.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cope JM, Fox CW (2003) Oviposition decisions in the seed beetle, Callosobruchus maculatus (Coleoptera: Bruchidae): effects of seed size on superparasitism. J Stored Prod Res 39:355–365. doi: 10.1016/S0022-474X(02)00028-0 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Deas JB, Hunter MS (2012) Mothers modify eggs into shields to protect offspring from parasitism. Proc R Soc B Biol Sci 279:847–853. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2011.1585 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Denno RF, McClure MS, Ott JR (1995) Interspecific interactions in phytophagous insects: competition reexamined and resurrected. Annu Rev Entomol 40:297–331CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Fox CW, Dublin L, Pollit SJ (2003) Gender differences in lifespan and mortality rates in two seed beetle species. Func Ecol 17:619–626. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2435.2003.00781.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Graham PH, Vance CP (2003) Update on legume utilization legumes: importance and constraints to greater use. Plant Physiol 131:872–877. doi: 10.1104/pp.017004.872 CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  10. Hughes J, Vogler AP (2004) Ecomorphological adaptation of acorn weevils to their oviposition site. Evolution 58:1971–1983. doi: 10.1111/j.0014-3820.2004.tb00483.x CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Janzen ADH (1971) Seed predation by animals. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 2:465–492CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Janzen ADH (1980) Specificity of seed-attacking beetles in a Costa Rican deciduous forest. J Ecol 68:929–952CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Johnson CD, Kingsolver JM (1976) Systematics of stator of North and Central America (Coleoptera: Bruchidae). US Dep Agric Tech Bull 1537:1–101Google Scholar
  14. Johnson CD, Siemens HD (1997) Oviposition behaviour, guilds, host relationships and new host and distribution records for the genus Merobruchus Bridwell (Coleoptera: Bruchidae). Coleopts Bull 51(1):13–12Google Scholar
  15. Kingsolver JG, Huey RB (2008) Size, temperature, and fitness: three rules. Evol Ecol Res 10:251–268Google Scholar
  16. Kingsolver JG, John M (2004) Handbook of the Bruchidae of the United States and Canada (Insecta, Coleoptera). US Dep Agric Tech Bull 1912(2):1–636Google Scholar
  17. Kingsolver JG, Pfennig DW (2004) Individual-level selection as a cause of Cope’s rule of phyletic size increase. Evolution 58:1608–1612. doi: 10.1554/04-003 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Mitchell R (1975) The evolution of oviposition tactics in the bean weevil, Callosobruchus maculatus (F.). Ecology 56:696–702. doi: 10.2307/1935504 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Queiroz LP (2009) Leguminosas da Caatinga. Universidade Estadual de Feira de Santana, Feira de Santana, BrazilGoogle Scholar
  20. R Development Core Team (2011) R: a language and environment for statistical computing. Ver 2.14.0. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Available from: Google Scholar
  21. Savalli UM, Fox CW (1998) Sexual selection and the fitness consequences of male body size in the seed beetle Stator limbatus. Anim Behav 55:473–483CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Schoener TW (1971) Theory of feeding strategies. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 2:369–404CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Scriber JM, Slansky JF (1981) The nutritional ecology of immature insects. Annu Rev Entomol 26:183–211CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Shine R (1987) The evolution of large body size in females: a critique of Darwin’s “fecundity advantage” model. Am Nat 131(1):124–131CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Silva EF, Santos TRR, Fernandes-Bulhão C (2007) Levantamento florístico das lianas lenhosas, arbustos e subarbustos do Cerrado do Parque do Bacaba, Nova Xavantina-MT. Rev Bras Biociênc 5(2):948–950Google Scholar
  26. Southgate BJ (1979) Biology of the Bruchidae. Annu Rev Entomol 24:449–73. doi: 10.1146/annurev.en.24.010179.002313 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Teder T, Tammaru T (2005) Sexual size dimorphism within species increases with body size in insects. Oikos 108:321–334. doi: 10.1111/j.0030-1299.2005.13609.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Tuller J, Paula EL, Maia LF, Moraes RA, Faria LDB (2015) Seed predation food web, nutrient availability, and impact on the seed germination of Senegalia tenuifolia (Fabaceae). Rev Biol Trop 63(4):1149–1159CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Vallejo-Marín M, Domínguez CA, Dirzo R (2006) Simulated seed predation reveals a variety of germination responses of neotropical rain forest species. Am J Bot 93(3):369–376. doi: 10.3732/ajb.93.3.369 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Zuur A, Ieno EN, Smith GM (2007) Analysing ecological data, 1st edn. Springer, New York, p 672. doi: 10.1007/978-0-387-45972-1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Zuur A, Ieno EN, Walker N, Saveliev AA, Smith GM (2009) Mixed effects models and extensions in ecology with R, 1st edn. Springer, New York, p 574. doi: 10.1007/978-0-387-87458-6 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Sociedade Entomológica do Brasil 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Setor de Ecologia e Conservação, Depto de BiologiaUniv Federal de LavrasLavrasBrasil

Personalised recommendations