• character displacement;
  • character release;
  • Cicindelidae;
  • Coleoptera;
  • interspecific competition


The coastal tiger beetle Lophyridia angulata (Fabricius) co-occurs with one or two tiger beetle species at any one locality (in a sandy beach habitat) along the Japan Sea coast of Honshu, from eastern to southern Kyushu, and on Tanega-shima, an island south of Kyushu, in Japan. Lophyridia angulata displays sexual dimorphism in mandible length (the mandible is longer in females), and shows large interpopulation differences in mandible size. We analyzed variation in mandible length between L. angulata populations associated with three different sympatric species, and examined morphological differences that may have resulted from interaction with these other species. Lophyridia angulata showed a significant size shift towards larger mandibles in a population that co-occurred with Cicindela lewisii, which has a similar mandible length to that of L. angulata, as compared to a neighboring population of L. angulata that co-occurred with another species. This pattern may be interpreted as a type of character displacement associated with food resource competition. Males in L. angulata populations co-occurring with Chaetodera laetescripta showed little variation in mandible length, as compared to other populations. These males may experience some pressure from C. laetescripta and from conspecific females. We found no significant changes in mandible length or in size variation of L. angulata before and 20 years after the extinction of Abroscelis anchoralis at one site historically co-inhabited by both species; that is, we did not detect a character release over the 20 years.