Beetles are one of the largest and most diverse groups of animals in the world. Conversion of forewings into hardened shields is perceived as a key adaptation that has greatly supported the evolutionary success of this taxa. Beetle elytra play an essential role: they minimize the influence of unfavorable external factors and protect insects against predators. Therefore, it is particularly interesting why some beetles have reduced their shields. This rare phenomenon is called brachelytry and its evolution and implications remain largely unexplored. In this paper, we focused on rare group of brachelytrous beetles with exposed hind wings. We have investigated whether the elytra loss in different beetle taxa is accompanied with the hind wing shape modification, and whether these changes are similar among unrelated beetle taxa. We found that hind wings shape differ markedly between related brachelytrous and macroelytrous beetles. Moreover, we revealed that modifications of hind wings have followed similar patterns and resulted in homoplasy in this trait among some unrelated groups of wing-exposed brachelytrous beetles. Our results suggest that elytra reduction may affect the evolution of beetle hind wings.
Zoomorphology – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 18, 2017
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