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Testing Rensch’s rule in Acanthoscelides macrophthalmus, a seed-feeding beetle infesting Leucaena leucocephala plants

Rossi, M.N., Haga, E.B.
Canadian journal of zoology 2019 v.97 no.4 pp. 304-311
Acanthoscelides, Chrysomelidae, Leucaena leucocephala, body size, environmental factors, females, fruits, humidity, insects, males, rearing, seeds, sexual dimorphism, sexual selection, temperature
Rensch’s rule states that males vary more in size than females when body size increases. The main cause of Rensch’s rule has been credited to sexual selection. However, different degrees of plasticity between the sexes have also been proven to be useful for describing variations in sexual size dimorphism, particularly within an intraspecific context. For insects, in general, this rule has rarely been tested within species. Here, we tested whether Acanthoscelides macrophthalmus (Schaeffer, 1907) (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae: Bruchinae) followed Rensch’s rule when individuals emerged from seeds immediately after fruit collection and when they were reared for one generation, by measuring three morphological traits. Rensch’s rule was not followed for any of the morphological traits. Variations in body size were similar in males and females for bruchines that first emerged from seeds and for those that were reared for one generation. These findings suggest that environmental conditions (e.g., temperature, humidity, and seasonality) are unlikely to drive differential plasticity in males and females of this seed-feeding beetle. It is possible that changes in the body size of A. macrophthalmus have a genetic basis. However, regardless of whether variations in body size have a genetic basis, our findings provide no support for Rensch’s rule.