ON SEXUAL SELECTION IN FLORIDA’S PYRACTOMENA BOREALIS (COLEOPTERA: LAMPYRIDAE)

Erin Gentry

Abstract


To what extent can a small animal with limited mobility use behavior to take advantage of its environment and how might this influence the population as a whole? This was examined in a firefly species Pyractomena borealis (Randall), by looking at the features of the microhabitat where larvae pupate, how developmental rates are influenced by extrinsic factors, and how the population’s spatial distribution differed according to sex. In two populations of P. borealis in Gainesville Florida, larvae pupated at the warmest locations on trees, potentially causing a faster development rate than individuals in cooler areas. In these populations males pupated sooner and in warmer areas than females, suggesting males chose their pupation locations in order to have a shorter development period and an earlier emergence date than females. This is the first evidence of protandry being experimentally linked with behavioral usage of habitat.

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