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Does Experience Affect the Outcome of Male-Male Contests in the Burying Beetle, Nicrophorus quadripunctatus?  [PDF]
Seizi Suzuki
Psyche , 2013, DOI: 10.1155/2013/859835
Abstract: The bigger individual in a fight usually wins unless the smaller individual is a resident or has recently won a fight. I conducted three experiments on the effects of body size, residency, and fight history on the outcome of male-male fights in a burying beetle. Fights were staged between an intruding male and the male of a male-female pair. When males differed in size, the larger male usually won regardless of residency or individual fight histories. Residents and winners of previous fights won only when competing males were similar in size. Hence, male body size largely determines the outcomes of fights in this beetle. 1. Introduction Fighting between males over mating opportunities is a widespread phenomenon in the animal kingdom and has received much empirical attention [1]. Fighting ability is often correlated with morphological and physiological attributes such as body size, weaponry, and ornaments [1], but these are not the only attributes that may determine fighting ability. It has been hypothesized that the “prior residence effect” can also affect the outcome of fighting contests in accordance with the convention “resident wins, intruder retreats” [2]. A third effect is the “winner-loser effect,” in which winners are more likely to win again and losers are more likely to lose again [3]. These two effects sometimes counteract morphological and physiological attributes (e.g., [4]). The complex parental behaviour of burying beetles (Nicrophorus: Silphidae) has been well-studied (reviewed in [5, 6]). Nicrophorus exploits small vertebrate carrions as food for its young. A male-female pair prepares a carcass by burying it, removing its hair, and rounding it into a ball. Eggs are then laid in the soil adjacent to the carrion ball. After hatching, the larvae crawl to the carrion ball, where they are fed by parental regurgitations. Nicrophorus is generally monogamous [7–9], and both sexes display intense intrasexual competition [10, 11]. Two or more individuals of both sexes often locate the same carcass, but usually only a single dominant pair eventually occupies the carcass. Resident males are more likely to be injured than resident females [12], and males have a greater tendency to guard [13, 14]. Contests between males are expected to be more intense than those between females. Larger individuals of Nicrophorus usually win contests among conspecifics in N. humator [10] or in N. quadripunctatus [11]. However, the presence of the winner effect is supported by a previous study of N. humator [15], and it is possible that other attributes affect the
Effect of Carcass Size on Feeding Modes of Larvae of Nicrophorus quadripunctatus Kraatz (Coleoptera: Silphidae)  [PDF]
Ryu Kishida,Nobuhiko Suzuki
Psyche , 2010, DOI: 10.1155/2010/206318
Abstract: In the parental care of burying beetles of Nicrophorus, the role of males has not been clearly elucidated. To test our hypothesis that the investment in resource manipulation by males influences the feeding of larvae by males, we investigated parental efforts of N. quadripunctatus. On the small carcasses, the time spent on resource manipulation by males was short, and the males left the carcasses without feeding the larvae (maternal feeding). On the large carcasses, the males spent a long time on resource manipulation, and the male participated in the feeding of larvae (biparental feeding). This suggests that one of the reproductive roles of males in the absence of predators and/or competitors is resource manipulation, and the paternal efforts change depending on carcass size. A longer time spent on resource manipulation by males may be a trigger for the males to participate in the feeding of larvae on large carcasses. 1. Introduction Burying beetles of Nicrophorus (Coleoptera: Silphidae) are subsocial insects exhibiting an elaborate system of biparental care. The parents prepare a small vertebrate carcass as a food resource for their offspring and defend the carcass from predators and/or competitors. The parents inter the carcass, remove its hair or feathers, shape the carcass into a brood ball, and deposit anal or oral secretions around it. This series of behaviors is known as resource manipulation. Additionally, the parents feed their larvae by regurgitating food and repair the crypt as needed [1–3]. The breeding schedule after pair formation is divided into the resource manipulation period and the feeding period. Although previous studies have focused on feeding behaviors to the brood, resource manipulation prior to feeding has been little examined to date. It was thought that one important role of males in this biparental care was their defense against predators and/or competitors, supported by the fact that the presence of both parents on a carcass decreases the risk of a takeover by other beetles (N. orbicollis: [4, 5]; N. defodiens: [6]). However, many studies have found that in the absence of competitors under benign conditions in the laboratory, there is no evidence that the participation of a male in the feeding of larvae confers any advantages on the survival or growth of the brood [1, 7–10]. Some studies reported that female burying beetles attacked males that remained during the feeding period [3, 11]. Thus, the adaptive significance of the presence of a male and the contribution of feeding by a male to larval development and growth have
Carcass Fungistasis of the Burying Beetle Nicrophorus nepalensis Hope (Coleoptera: Silphidae)  [PDF]
Wenbe Hwang,Hsiu-Mei Lin
Psyche , 2013, DOI: 10.1155/2013/162964
Abstract: Our study investigated the fungistatic effects of the anal secretions of Nicrophorus nepalensis Hope on mouse carcasses. The diversity of fungi on carcasses was investigated in five different experimental conditions that corresponded to stages of the burial process. The inhibition of fungal growth on carcasses that were treated by mature beetles before burial was lost when identically treated carcasses were washed with distilled water. Compared with control carcasses, carcasses that were prepared, buried, and subsequently guarded by mature breeding pairs of beetles exhibited the greatest inhibition of fungal growth. No significant difference in fungistasis was observed between the 3.5?g and the 18 to 22?g guarded carcasses. We used the growth of the predominant species of fungi on the control carcasses, Trichoderma sp., as a biological indicator to examine differences in the fungistatic efficiency of anal secretions between sexually mature and immature adults and between genders. The anal secretions of sexually mature beetles inhibited the growth of Trichoderma sp., whereas the secretions of immature beetles did not. The secretions of sexually mature females displayed significantly greater inhibition of the growth of Trichoderma sp. than those of sexually mature males, possibly reflecting a division of labor in burying beetle reproduction. 1. Introduction Burying beetles (Nicrophorus spp.) use small vertebrate carcasses as food for their larval broods by depositing their eggs around a buried carcass [1, 2]. Carcasses are nutritious yet rare resources [3, 4]. During the lifetime of a beetle, it may find only one carcass that is suitable for reproduction [5]. Competition for carcasses is intense [6–8], and burying beetles of the same or different species may fight to maintain occupancy of the carcass [1, 9–11]. Bacterial and fungal decomposers destroy carcasses, and scavenging animals have evolved behavioral and physiological counterstrategies to maintain food sources [12]. Before burying a carcass, the burying beetles remove the fur or feathers from the carcass, compact the carcass by rolling it repeatedly, and smear its surface with their anal secretions [1]. Carcasses used by beetles typically vary in size from 1 to 75?g [9, 10, 13] and are encountered in variable states of decay. Burying beetles exhibit adaptive strategies that enable them to manage the carrion resources in such diverse conditions, such as adjusting the number of eggs laid [13, 14] and practicing infanticide [15, 16], with the number of surviving larvae positively correlated with
Effect of Population Density on Timing of Oviposition and Brood Size Reduction in the Burying Beetle Nicrophorus pustulatus Herschel (Coleoptera: Silphidae)
Claudia M. Rauter,Renae L. Rust
Psyche , 2012, DOI: 10.1155/2012/437518
Abstract: Burying beetles (Nicrophorus spp.) bury small carcasses to feed their larvae. Carcasses are a limited, high-quality resource and contests over carcasses become more frequent with increasing population density. Successful beetles kill eggs and larvae present on carcass. In response, females should accelerate oviposition, while offspring development should increase to minimize mortality. Both value of a carcass and frequency of contests decrease as larvae develop. If overproduction of offspring is an insurance against high mortality, females should reduce brood size as carcass value declines. Testing our predictions, we reared female burying beetles, Nicrophorus pustulatus, at high and low densities and compared oviposition and brood reduction. High-density females delayed oviposition, suggesting that high population density imposes nutritional and/or physiological stress. Females responded to the physiological constraints and the potentially high mortality rates of eggs and newly hatched larvae by lengthening oviposition period and changing brood reduction rate.
Arboreal Burials in Nicrophorus spp. (Coleoptera: Silphidae)
Amanda J. Lowe,Randolph F. Lauff
Psyche , 2012, DOI: 10.1155/2012/578650
Abstract: Nicrophorus beetles are well known for interring small vertebrates below ground for the purpose of rearing their young. However, the arboreal use of carrion has not been previously investigated. Nest boxes were suspended in the canopy of two forest habitats in Nova Scotia, Canada, to determine if this microhabitat fostered the same behaviour. Although four species of Nicrophorus as well as Oiceoptoma noveboracense (Forster) were recorded in association with carrion, arboreal reproduction was recorded exclusively and for the first time in N. tomentosus Weber and N. defodiens Mannerheim. Both N. sayi Laporte and N. pustulatus Herschel were associated with the arboreal carrion but did not reproduce on it during these experiments.
Relative Abundance of Nicrophorus Pustulatus(Coleoptera: Silphidae) in a Burying BeetleCommunity, With Notes on its ReproductiveBehavior  [cached]
Ian C. Robertson
Psyche , 1992, DOI: 10.1155/1992/85675
Large carrion beetles (Coleoptera, Silphidae) in Western Europe: a review
Dekeirsschieter, J.,Verheggen, F.,Lognay, G.,Haubruge, E.
Biotechnologie, Agronomie, Société et Environnement , 2011,
Abstract: This review focuses on carrion beetles (Coleoptera, Silphidae) of the Western Palearctic and their potential use in forensic entomology as bioindicators. Few studies have looked at Silphidae in forensic context and investigations. However, some Silphidae present the desirable characteristics of some Diptera used in postmortem estimates and thus may extend the minimum postmortem interval (PMImin). We review here the taxonomy and distribution of Western Palearctic Silphidae. The anatomical and morphological characteristics of both subfamilies are described for adults and larvae. The biology and ecology of silphids are also summarized for Silphinae and Nicrophorinae. A specific chapter gives an overview of the current uses of Silphidae in forensic entomology as postmortem indicator.
Carrion beetles (Histeridae, Silphidae and Scarabaeidae) from two localities in Gómez Farías, Jalisco, México Coleópteros necrócolos (Histeridae, Silphidae y Scarabaeidae) en dos localidades de Gómez Farías, Jalisco, México
Revista Colombiana de Entomología , 2011,
Abstract: We provide information on the carrion beetles from two localities of Gómez Farías, Jalisco, México, including their abundance, diversity, phenology and faunistic similarity. Monthly collections were made from December 2004 to December 2005 with NTP-80 carrion traps in San Andrés Ixtlán (tropical deciduous forest) and El Rodeo (pine forest). Thirty-four Coleoptera families were recorded, represented by 2.533 specimens belonging to 22 genera and 33 species. The most abundant family was Histeridae (62.7%), whereas Scarabaeidae was the most diverse (15 species). The most abundant species were Xerosaprinus sp. 1, Oxelytrum discicolle, Nicrophorus olidus and Deltochilum scabriusculum (representing 87.11% of the total abundance). Se presenta información sobre los coleópteros necrócolos de dos localidades del Municipio de Gómez Farías, Jalisco, México, considerando su abundancia, diversidad, fenología y similitud faunística. Se realizaron colectas mensuales de diciembre del 2004 a diciembre del 2005 con necrotrampas NTP-80, en San Andrés Ixtlán (Bosque Tropical Caducifolio) y El Rodeo (Bosque de Pino). Se registraron 34 familias de Coleoptera, de las cuales, Histeridae, Silphidae y Scarabaeidae estuvieron representadas por 2.533 ejemplares, pertenecientes a 22 géneros y 33 especies. La familia más abundante fue Histeridae (62,7%), mientras que Scarabaeidae fue la más diversa (15 especies). Las especies más abundantes fueron Xerosaprinus sp. 1, Oxelytrum discicolle, Nicrophorus olidus y Deltochilum scabriusculum (representando el 87,11% de la abundancia total).
The Life History of the Japanese Carrion Beetle Ptomascopus Morio and the Origins of Parental Care in Nicrophorus (Coleoptera, Silphidae, Nicrophorini)  [cached]
Stewart B. Peck
Psyche , 1982, DOI: 10.1155/1982/83023
Female Burying Beetles Benefit from Male Desertion: Sexual Conflict and Counter-Adaptation over Parental Investment  [PDF]
Giuseppe Boncoraglio, Rebecca M. Kilner
PLOS ONE , 2012, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0031713
Abstract: Sexual conflict drives the coevolution of sexually antagonistic traits, such that an adaptation in one sex selects an opposing coevolutionary response from the other. Although many adaptations and counteradaptations have been identified in sexual conflict over mating interactions, few are known for sexual conflict over parental investment. Here we investigate a possible coevolutionary sequence triggered by mate desertion in the burying beetle Nicrophorus vespilloides, where males commonly leave before their offspring reach independence. Rather than suffer fitness costs as a consequence, our data suggest that females rely on the male's absence to recoup some of the costs of larval care, presumably because they are then free to feed themselves on the carcass employed for breeding. Consequently, forcing males to stay until the larvae disperse reduces components of female fitness to a greater extent than caring for young singlehandedly. Therefore we suggest that females may have co-evolved to anticipate desertion by their partners so that they now benefit from the male's absence.
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