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Intra-sexual dimorphism is found in the weapons of many male beetles. Different behavioral tactics to access females between major and minor males, which adopt fighting and alternative tactics, respectively, are thought to maintain the male dimorphism. In these species major males have enlarged weapons that they use in fights with rival males. Minor males also have small weapons in some of these species, and it is unclear why these males possess weapons. We examined the hypothesis that minor males might adopt a fighting tactic when their status was relatively high in comparison with that of other males (e.g., ownership of a territory). We observed the behavioral tactics of major and minor males of the beetle Librodor japonicus, whose males have a dimorphism of their mandibles. Major males fought for resources, whereas minor males adopted two status-dependent tactics, fighting and sneaking, to access females, depending on their ownership of a sap site. We suggest that ownership status-dependent mating tactics in minor males may maintain the intra-sexual dimorphism in this beetle.
Digital Object Identifier:10.1007/s10164-006-0021-0
Published with permission from the copyright holder. This is the institute's copy, as published in JOURNAL OF ETHOLOGY, Sep 2007, Volume 25, Issue 3, Pages 255-261.
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Journal of Ethology