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Insects. 2017 Oct 21;8(4). pii: E115. doi: 10.3390/insects8040115.

Morphometric Modifications in Canthon quinquemaculatus Castelnau 1840 (Coleoptera: Scarabaeinae): Sublethal Effects of Transgenic Maize?

Author information

1
Programa de Pós Graduação em Ecologia, Departamento de Ecologia e Zoologia, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis 88040-900, Brasil. vmichelonalves@gmail.com.
2
Programa de Pós Graduação em Ecologia, Departamento de Ecologia e Zoologia, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis 88040-900, Brasil. malva.medina@ufsc.br.

Abstract

The effects of transgenic compounds on non-target organisms remain poorly understood, especially in native insect species. Morphological changes (e.g., changes in body size and shape) may reflect possible responses to environmental stressors, like transgenic toxins. The dung beetle Canthon quinquemaculatus (Coleoptera: Scarabaeinae) is a non-target species found in transgenic crops. We evaluated whether C. quinquemaculatus individuals inhabiting corn fields cultivated with different seed types (conventional, creole and transgenic) present modifications in body shape compared to individuals inhabiting adjacent native forest fragments. We collected C. quinquemaculatus specimens across an agricultural landscape in southern Brazil, during the summer of 2015. Six populations were sampled: three maize crop populations each under a different seed type, and three populations of adjacent forests. After sampling, specimens were subjected to morphometric analyses to discover differences in body shape. We chose fifteen landmarks to describe body shape, and morphometric data were tested with Procrustes ANOVA and Discriminant Analysis. We found that body shape did not differ between individuals collected in conventional and creole crops with their respective adjacent forests (p > 0.05); however, transgenic crop populations differed significantly from those collected in adjacent forests (p < 0.05). Insects in transgenic maize are more oval and have a retraction in the abdominal region, compared with the respective adjacent forest, this result shows the possible effect of transgenic crops on non-target species. This may have implications for the ecosystem service of organic matter removal, carried out by these organisms.

KEYWORDS:

agriculture; body shape; dung beetle; ecology; morphology

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