How young horned beetles use their horns

This video says about itself:

Onthophagus (Palaenthophagus) sp.

Orden Coleoptera, Suborden Poliphaga, Infraorden Scarabaeiformia, Superfamilia Scarabaeoidea, Familia Scarabaeidae

From Biology News Net:

The function of horned beetles’ wild protrusions has been a matter of some consternation for biologists.

Digging seemed plausible; combat and mate selection, more likely.

Even Charles Darwin once weighed in on the matter, suggesting — one imagines with some frustration — the horns were merely ornamental.

In this month’s American Naturalist (Dec. 2006) and the Nov. 2006 issue of Evolution, Indiana University Bloomington scientists present an entirely new function for the horns: during their development, Onthophagus horned beetles use their young horns as a sort of can opener, helping them bust out of thick larval shells.

The finding will surprise anyone who assumed hornless Onthophagus adults (usually the females) never form the horns in the first place.

They do, the scientists say, but the nubile horn tissue is reabsorbed before the beetles’ emergence as adults.

Scarlet malachite beetle in Britain: here.

1 thought on “How young horned beetles use their horns

  1. From the Google cache of Dear Kitty ModBlog, gone now

    UK: help save rare beetle Comments: 2
    Date: 6/27/05 at 1:55PM (3w1d ago) Add Comment | Send to Friend
    Mood: Thinking

    Noble chafer beetleMonday, 27 June, 2005

    Bid to save rare British beetle

    By Helen Briggs
    BBC News science reporter

    People are being asked to report sightings of a rare British beetle that emerges from old fruit trees in summer.

    So little is known about the noble chafer, a green beetle with a metallic sheen, that conservationists are unsure exactly how many are left.

    The People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) is calling on the public to join its latest survey.

    With orchards being destroyed to make way for more productive crops, numbers are thought to be dwindling rapidly.

    Read more here,

    Blog Comments

    RE: UK: help save rare beetle
    Posted by:
    Idle: 3w5h
    trailergazzette’s ModBlog
    View Profile

    Date: 06/28/05 at 2:18 AM (3w1d ago)
    its amazing how far we have come with the understanding of life and the food chain truly all creatures great and small matter
    Link to Post | Reply to Post | Quote Post
    RE: UK: help save rare beetle
    Posted by:
    Idle: 0s
    Dear Kitty
    ModBlog Groups
    Animal Friends Group
    View Profile

    Date: 06/28/05 at 7:39 AM (3w1d ago)
    Yes, indeed there is progress in knowledge. However, we still know far from everything. That’s why in the UK the public is asked to warn scientists if they see that beetle species.


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