Disentangling the phenotypic variation and pollination biology of the Cyclocephala sexpunctata (Scarabaeidae: Dynastinae) species complex
Moore, Matthew Robert (2011). Disentangling the phenotypic variation and pollination biology of the Cyclocephala sexpunctata (Scarabaeidae: Dynastinae) species complex. -- In Proceedings: 7th Annual Symposium: Graduate Research and Scholarly Projects. Wichita, KS: Wichita State University, p. 107
Assessing inter- and intraspecific variation provides an important foundation for studies of evolution, ecology, and systematics. Many insects display high degrees of intraspecific variation, but the mechanisms that generate variation remain largely unexplored in this taxon. Members of the speciose genus Cyclocephala (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Dynastinae) often exhibit intraspecific variation of elytral patterns, genital morphology and pollination associations, creating diagnostic difficulties that confound study of the group. The aims of this study are to comprehensively describe and identify causes of intraspecific variation in Cyclocephala sexpunctata and closely allied species using morphological, molecular, and biogeographical techniques. Field observations of C. sexpunctata populations indicate that intraspecific variation may be distributed along clines of elevation and latitude. Detailed locality information obtained from museum collection databases will facilitate exploration of salient spatial and environmental factors contributing to patterns of variational clines. This scientific approach will add greatly to the understanding of variation within the genus Cyclocephala, and the methods may be widely applicable to similar studies of insects and other taxonomic groups.
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Research completed at the Department of Biological Sciences