Eur. J. Entomol. 106 (3): 379-383, 2009 | DOI: 10.14411/eje.2009.048

Sociality improves larval growth in the stag beetle Figulus binodulus (Coleoptera: Lucanidae)

Hideaki MORI, Satoshi CHIBA
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Graduate School of Life Sciences, University of Tohoku,

The benefits for offspring of attendant adult were investigated in the stag beetle Figulus binodulus. The initial growth rate of third-instar larva was significantly higher when the larvae were in a nest with adults compared to those in a nest without adults. The difference in growth rate is reflected in adult body size. Although the presence of adult beetle generally benefited the offspring, the adults did eat some of the larvae. Filial cannibalism was the primary cause of juvenile death in nests with adults. Mortality was lower in nests with adults related to the juveniles compared to nests with unrelated adults, suggesting that infanticide of nest mates may be inhibited. These results suggest that F. binodulus has a level of sociality and nest mate recognition that is very rare in stag beetles. Social behaviour may be more advantageous for small stag beetles than fighting.

Keywords: Stag beetle, social behaviour, parental care, filial cannibalism, nestmate recognition, Lucanidae

Received: October 7, 2008; Accepted: January 19, 2009; Published: July 24, 2009

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