Eur. J. Entomol. 105 (1): 99-104, 2008 | 10.14411/eje.2008.014

Trophic egg provisioning in a passalid beetle (Coleoptera)

Kyoko ENTO1,*, Kunio ARAYA2, Shin-Ichi KUDO3
1,2 Graduate School of Social and Cultural Studies, Kyushu University, 4-2-1 Ropponmatsu, Chuou-ku, Fukuoka 810-8560, Japan; e-mail: arayarcb@mbox.nc.kyushu-u.ac.jp
3 Dept of Biology, Naruto University of Education, 748, Nakashima, Takashima, Naruto-cho, Naruto City, Tokushima 772-8502 Japan; e-mail: skudo@naruto-u.ac.jp

Trophic eggs, which are not viable and eaten by larvae, are produced by the passalid beetle Cylindrocaulus patalis. This is the first record of trophic eggs in subsocial Coleoptera. There are differences in the morphology of trophic and fertile eggs; the former are a paler colour and softer than the latter. The surface of the chorion of trophic eggs is also smoother than that of fertile eggs. The trophic eggs are fed directly by the female parent to 3rd instar larvae following a series of specific behavioural interactions between them, including repeated stridulation by the larva. It is likely that trophic eggs supplement the protein-poor diet of the larvae and contribute to their growth and survival. The production of trophic eggs may be associated with the evolution of an extremely small clutch size in C. patalis.

Keywords: Coleoptera, Passalidae, Cylindrocaulus patalis, trophic egg, parental care, subsocial

Received: March 6, 2007; Accepted: August 27, 2007; Published: February 15, 2008

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