This book describes the evolutionary and ecological consequences of reproductive competition for scarabaeine dung beetles. As well as giving us insight into the private lives of these fascinating creatures, this book shows how dung beetles can be used as model systems for improving our general understanding of broad evolutionary and ecological processes, and how they generate biological diversity. Over the last few decades we have begun to see further than ever before, with our research efforts yielding new information at all levels of analysis, from whole organism biology to genomics.
This book brings together leading researchers who contribute chapters that integrate our current knowledge of phylogenetics and evolution, developmental biology, comparative morphology, physiology, behaviour, and population and community ecology. Dung beetle research is shedding light on the ultimate question of how best to document and conserve the world's biodiversity.
List of Contributors
1. Reproductive competition and its impact on the evolution and ecology of dung beetles (Leigh W. Simmons and T. James Ridsdill-Smith)
2. The evolutionary history and diversification of dung beetles (T. Keith Philips)
3. Male contest competition and the evolution of weapons (Robert Knell)
4. Sexual selection after mating: the evolutionary consequences of sperm competition and cryptic female choice in onthophagines (Leigh W. Simmons)
5. Olfactory ecology (G. D. Tribe and B. V. Burger)
6. Explaining phenotypic diversity: The conditional strategy and threshold trait expression (Joseph L. Tomkins and Wade Hazel)
7. Evolution and development: Onthophagus beetles and the evolutionary development genetics of innovation, allometry, and plasticity (Armin Moczek)
8. The evolution of parental care in the onthophagine dung beetles (John Hunt and Clarissa House)
9. The visual ecology of dung beetles (Marcus Byrne and Marie Dacke)
10. The ecological implications of physiological diversity in dung beetles (Steven L. Chown and C. Jaco Klok)
11. Dung beetle populations: structure and consequences (Tomas Roslin and Heidi Viljanen)
12. Biological control: ecosystem functions provided by dung beetles (T. James Ridsdill-Smith and Penny B. Edwards)
13. Dung beetles as a candidate study taxon in applied biodiversity conservation research (Elizabeth S. Nichols and Toby A. Gardner)
Leigh Simmons was born and educated in the UK, and is currently Professor of Evolutionary Biology at the University of Western Australia. His research interests lie in all aspects of reproductive biology, from the evolution of sperm form and function, to mate searching and courtship behaviour.
James Ridsdill-Smith was born and educated in the UK but carried out all his research in Australia working for CSIRO Entomology. He has been developing biological and ecological solutions to various pest problems and 15 years involved in the biological control of dung with scarabaeine dung beetles.