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Keywords:

  • exaggerated morphology;
  • Lucanidae;
  • static allometry;
  • weapon trait

Abstract

Numerous coleopteran species express male-specific “weapon traits” that often show size variations among males, even within a single population. Many empirical studies have demonstrated that environmental conditions during development affect absolute weapon size. However, relatively few studies in horned beetles support the hypothesis that the relationship between weapon size and body size, also referred to as a “scaling relationship” or “static allometry”, is largely determined by genetic factors. In this study, the heritability of absolute mandible length and static allometry between mandible length and body size were estimated in the stag beetle Cyclommatus metallifer. While no significant heritable variation was observed in absolute mandible length, high heritability (h2 = 0.57 ± 0.25) was detected in the static allometry between mandible length and body size. This is the first report on the genetic effect on male mandible size in Lucanidae, suggesting that absolute mandible size is largely determined by environmental conditions while the static allometry between weapon size and body size is primarily determined by genetic factors.