Morphological characteristics for sexing living adults of Chaetoptelius vestitus (Coleoptera, Curculionidae)

in Animal Biology
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The pistachio bark beetle, Chaetoptelius vestitus (Mulsant & Rey, 1861) is a serious pest of pistachio trees. Despite its phytosanitary importance, some aspects of its biology are still unclear. For example, determining the sex of this beetle is usually complicated by the lack of a discrete, externally visible gender-specific character. Here, the morphological characteristics of C. vestitus were studied in order to detect discriminative features for sexing living beetles. The shape of the seventh visible tergite effectively enabled the separation of the sexes. This method can be quickly learned, is non-destructive and permits sex determination of living C. vestitus adults with 100% accuracy and without damaging the insects. Sex determination using external morphology was confirmed by dissection under a stereomicroscope and by rearing experiments. These morphological criteria were further successfully verified on insects collected on seven other sites in Tunisia.

Morphological characteristics for sexing living adults of Chaetoptelius vestitus (Coleoptera, Curculionidae)

in Animal Biology



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    Seventh abdominal tergite of C. vestitus female (A) and male (B). The last tergite of the females is more or less pointed, while that of the males is rounded. Source of photographs: OR Dept. Agriculture.

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    Abdominal apices of C. vestitus of female (A) and male (B). The aperture of the females is larger than that of the males. Source of photographs: OR Dept. Agriculture.

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    Oviposition tests in laboratory conditions (mean ± SD).

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    Variation in morphological characters of male and female C. vestitus adults. Boxes and whiskers show the extreme minimum, lower quartile, median, upper quartile, and extreme maximum. Differences in means for body length and other body sizes are not statistically significant between sexes (based on Mann-Whitney U test, see text); the ranges show broad overlap.

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    Reproductive tract of a C. vestitus female (A) and male (B).


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