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Appearance matters: multiple functional signals of body colors in Eupyrgops weevil
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野生物種外表所呈現的視覺訊號往往會被天擇與性擇所影響而形成極為鮮豔或黯淡的顏色。對於具有警戒色的物種而言，鮮豔的個體展示不好吃的訊息以減少被捕食的機率，甚至能吸引異性交配以增加自己的生殖成功率。綠島的碎斑硬象鼻蟲(Eupyrgops waltonianus)具有金屬光澤的斑點已被證實為一種警戒訊號且有效地降低被捕食的機率;然而還是有很多黯淡的個體生存於野外，我們並不了解這些沒有斑點個體在性擇是否具有功用。同時為了瞭解E. waltonianus的體型是否影響其交配成功率，我們比較有交配與未交配個體的體重、前背板長、翅鞘長與斑點面積的比例。另外，利用操作實驗(保留或移除斑點)檢測顏色是否會影響交配的選擇與行為。結果顯示體重與斑點為影響雌性生殖能力的兩個重要指標，雄蟲偏好於與較重與較鮮艷的雌蟲交配，但是雌蟲在選擇雄性上並未展示任何偏好。在交配系統中，E. waltonianus 為雄性較有優勢並且在種內競爭中也較強。我們的實驗顯示鮮豔的斑點在雌性象鼻蟲身上具有多重功能性，能同時有效地提供警戒與吸引異性的訊號給不同的接收者，而且在自然界中雄蟲與雌蟲有著不同的選汰壓力。
Visual signals in many animals are often shaped by natural and sexual selection, and the coloration on some species might be extremely conspicuous or dull in the wild. For aposematic species, conspicuous individuals may possess the advantages from advertising unprofitability to decrease predation, or even attracting mates to increase reproductive success. On Green Island, the metallic blue spots weevil Eupyrgops waltonianus has been proved to be of the aposematic signals which effectively reduce the predation rate. However, there are still some weevils of this species without conspicuous coloration in the field. Whether dull individuals encounter cost or benefit and the function of coloration on sexual selection are still unknown. In order to realize whether appearance affects mating success in E. waltonianus, we compared different traits (e.g. body weight, pronotum length, elytra length and ratio of spot area) between mating and non-mating individuals in the field. Manipulated experiments (spot-remained and post-removed) were used to test whether coloration affects mating choice and behavior in the lab. The results showed that body mass and coloration are two important indicators to evaluate the reproductive quality of females. Males preferred to mate with more conspicuous and heavier females. However, females did not display any mate preference. The mating system of E. waltonianus is a male dominant system, and intra-sexual competition is stronger in males. Our study demonstrated that conspicuous coloration on female weevils exhibits multiple functions, which can be used as aposematic and attractive signals for different receivers, and males and females face different selection pressure in natural environment.
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