Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Am Nat. 2002 Mar;159(3):255-71. doi: 10.1086/338512.

Character displacement in giant rhinoceros beetles.

Author information

  • 1Kobe University Farm, Uzurano, Kasai 675-2103, Japan.


I quantitatively analyzed male morphology of two closely related rhinoceros beetles species (Chalcosoma caucasus F. and Chalcosoma atlas L.) in 12 allopatric and seven sympatric locations throughout Southeast Asia. The qualitative features and the magnitude of intraspecific variation of each species were unaltered between allopatric and sympatric locations. Across allopatric locations, body size, horn size, dimorphic dimension, and genitalia size nearly completely overlapped between C. caucasus and C. atlas. Yet, in all sympatric locations, the differences between the two species in these characters were highly significant. While the enlarged difference between the two species in body size in sympatry could be attributed to habitat differentiation, that in genitalia size far exceeded what was expected from the general body-size displacement. These results indicate that morphological character displacement in sympatry was most complete in sexual organs. This may account for the process of existing species conserving themselves as integrated units by avoiding interspecific competition and enhancing reproductive isolation.

PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk