Male sexually-selected traits often impose an increased risk of predation on their bearers, causing male-biased predation. We investigated whether males of the sap-feeding Japanese rhinoceros beetle Trypoxylus dichotomus were more susceptible to predation than females by comparing the morphology of beetles caught in bait traps with the remains of beetles found on the ground. The males of this species are larger than the females and have a horn on the head. We found that predation pressure was greater for males than for females, and that larger individuals of both sexes were more vulnerable to predation. We identified two predators, the raccoon dog Nyctereutes procyonoides and jungle crow Corvus macrorhynchos, by monitoring sap-site trees with infrared video cameras. Raccoon dogs visited sap-site trees at night, while crows came after daybreak. The highest frequency of visits by both predators was observed in the first half of August, which matches the peak season of T. dichotomus. Raccoon dogs often left bite marks on the remains of prey, whereas crows did not. Bite marks were found on most of the remains collected at two distant localities, which suggested that predation by raccoon dogs is common. Size- and sex-dependent differences in the conspicuousness and active period of T. dichotomus probably explain these biased predation patterns. Our results suggest that having a large horn/body is costly in terms of the increased risk of predation. Predation cost may act as a stabilizing selection pressure against the further exaggeration of male sexual traits.
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Vol. 31 • No. 3