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21 June 2016 Coreidae (Insecta: Hemiptera) Limb Loss and Autotomy
Zachary Emberts, Colette M St. Mary, Christine W. Miller
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Autotomy, induced limb loss, is a trait that is effectively used throughout the animal kingdom to avoid predation and entrapment, and has independently evolved multiple times. Within the insect clade, species have been observed autotomizing legs, antennae, cerci, and caudal filaments. However, our knowledge of which species autotomize and the frequency of limb loss in natural populations is quite limited. Understanding autotomy's diversity can provide key insights into how this extreme trait has evolved and is a first step in understanding the costs and benefits of this behavior. Here, we quantify the frequency of leg loss and investigate the ability to autotomize in nine coreid (Insecta: Hemiptera: Coreidae) species (Euthochtha galeator F., Anasa andresii Guérin-Méneville, Anasa tristis DeGeer, Narnia femorata Stål, Chelinidea vittiger McAtee, Leptoglossus phyllopus L., Acanthocephala declivis Say, Acanthocephala terminalis Dallas, and Acanthocephala femorata F.), across five tribes. In wild populations of these species, limb absence ranged from 7.9 to 21.5%. In the lab, all nine species investigated were able to autotomize. These discoveries are particularly interesting because some coreids use their hind legs in intrasexual competitions for access to females; therefore, autotomy in coreids can mean permanently losing a sexually selected weapon. These observations provide a more complete understanding of autotomy's diversity while also developing new hypotheses regarding the interaction between autotomy, sexual selection, and natural selection.

©The Authors 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Entomological Society of America. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email:
Zachary Emberts, Colette M St. Mary, and Christine W. Miller "Coreidae (Insecta: Hemiptera) Limb Loss and Autotomy," Annals of the Entomological Society of America 109(5), 678-683, (21 June 2016).
Received: 21 March 2016; Accepted: 22 April 2016; Published: 21 June 2016

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elaborated hind limb
sexually selected weapon
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