Journal article

Observations on Unusual Feeding and Mating Behaviour of a Monkey Beetle Genus Amblymelanoplia Dombrow (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Hopliini)


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Publication Details

Author list: McLeod L., Colville J.F.

Publisher: Entomological Society of Southern Africa, PO Box 13162 Hatfield, Pretoria, 0028 http://www.entosocsa.co.za

Publication year: 2021

Journal: African Entomology

Journal name: African Entomology

Volume number: 29

Issue number: 1

Start page: 301

End page: 306

Total number of pages: 6

ISSN: 1021-3589

eISSN: 2224-8854

URL: https://www.scopus.com/inward/record.uri?partnerID=HzOxMe3b&scp=85103279088&origin=inward


Abstract

South Africa is the global centre of diversification for hopliine monkey beetles, with roughly 63%of

the world’s species and 38%of the genera concentrated here (Colville et al. 2014). A remarkably high

percentage of the species (c. 95 %) and genera (c. 80%) are national endemics, with many genera

(c. 75%) having the majority of their species occurring within the Fynbos and Succulent Karoo biomes (hereafter ‘Cape’). These figures, however, are most likely to change, with many new taxa

awaiting discovery (e.g. Dombrow 2007) and description (Dombrow pers. comm.). Of equal

significance is the huge (and globally unique) functional diversity seen in the Cape’s hopliines

(Colville et al. 2018). The Cape is also considered as a global centre of diversity and adaptive radiation

for several other insect groups (Colville et al. 2014); a particularly interesting component of the

region’s entomofauna being the exceptional diversity patterns show concordance with floristic centres

of diversity, suggesting coevolutionary histories between plants and insects (Hesse 1969; Eardley

1989; Gess 1992; Whitehead & Steiner 2001; Barraclough 2006). Stuckenberg (1998, 2000) and

others (Karolyi et al. 2012, 2013) have highlighted the adaptive responses in mouthpart morphology

of anthophilic fly genera found in at least seven families, many of these showing adaptive radiations

and centres of diversity within the Cape, e.g. Vermileonidae, Bombyliidae, Mydidae and

Nemestrinidae. The high frequency of mouthpart adaptations towards flower feeding in species

from the Cape is highly significant because it suggests that the diversification of the Cape flora

has exerted strong selection on anthophilic insect groups. Limited information on hopliine biology and

plant-feeding behaviour has been recorded (Dombrow 2002); however, information to date

shows a clear pattern of resource partitioning into several flower-feeding guilds (Picker & Midgley

1996). Additionally, concomitant adaptations in mouthpart morphology have also been recorded

across different feeding guilds, and both within and across different genera (Karolyi et al. 2016).

Cape monkey beetles feed on and pollinate a wide diversity of plants, with feeding guild structure

based on flower colour, shape and different floral resources utilised (Picker & Midgley 1996;

Goldblatt et al. 1998). Adult beetles feed upon the petals, ovules, pollen, and/or nectar, particularly of

the Asteraceae, Aiozoaceae, Iridaceae, Orchidaceae and Proteaceae (Picker & Midgley 1996;

Goldblatt et al. 1998). Monkey beetle pollination of neoendemics associated with the radiations

of various pollinator groups, e.g. bees (Kuhlmann 2009), wasps (Gess 1992), flies (Hesse 1969; Usher

1972; Greathead & Evenhuis 2001; Sinclair 2003; Barraclough 2006; Stuckenberg & Kirk-Sprigs

2009), nemopterid lacewings (Sole et al. 2013) and jewel beetles (Holm 1978).

Diversity patterns seen here for hopliine beetles, and other insect pollinators, raise interesting questions

concerning the drivers of insect speciation in the floristically speciose Cape. For this predominantly

winter-rainfall region, the exceptional diversity of hopliine and other insect pollinator groups

highlights this region as a centre of high evolutionary interest for insect speciation and adaptive radiation

(Colville et al. 2014). Furthermore, these patterns show concordance with floristic centres of diversity, suggesting coevolutionary histories between plants and insects (Hesse 1969; Eardley 1989; Gess 1992; Whitehead & Steiner 2001; Barraclough 2006). Stuckenberg (1998, 2000) and others (Karolyi et al. 2012, 2013) have highlighted the adaptive responses in mouthpart morphology of anthophilic fly genera found in at least seven families, many of these showing adaptive radiations and centres of diversity within the Cape,

e.g. Vermileonidae, Bombyliidae, Mydidae and Nemestrinidae. The high frequency of mouthpart

adaptations towards flower feeding in speciesfrom the Cape is highly significant because it

suggests that the diversification of the Cape flora has exerted strong selection on anthophilic insect

groups. Limited information on hopliine biology and plant-feeding behaviour has been recorded

(Dombrow 2002); however, information to date shows a clear pattern of resource partitioning into

several flower-feeding guilds (Picker & Midgley 1996). Additionally, concomitant adaptations in

mouthpart morphology have also been recordedacross different feeding guilds, and both within

and across different genera (Karolyi et al. 2016). Cape monkey beetles feed on and pollinate a wide

diversity of plants, with feeding guild structure based on flower colour, shape and different

floral resources utilised (Picker & Midgley 1996; Goldblatt et al. 1998). Adult beetles feed upon the

petals, ovules, pollen, and/or nectar, particularly of the Asteraceae, Aiozoaceae, Iridaceae, Orchidaceae

and Proteaceae (Picker & Midgley 1996; Goldblatt et al. 1998). Monkey beetle pollination appears to have influenced Cape plant speciation patterns (e.g. Steiner 1998) and several different plant groups show clear adaptations of their flowers towards pollination by these insects (Goldblatt et al. 1998; Van Kleunen et al. 2007).


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Last updated on 2021-07-04 at 10:55