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Data from: Phylogenetic comparative analysis supports aposematic colouration–body size association in millipede assassins (Hemiptera: Reduviidae: Ectrichodiinae)

Citation

Forthman, Michael; Weirauch, Christiane (2018), Data from: Phylogenetic comparative analysis supports aposematic colouration–body size association in millipede assassins (Hemiptera: Reduviidae: Ectrichodiinae), Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.1g2tf45

Abstract

The diversity of colour patterns and its importance in interactions with the environment make colouration in animals an intriguing research focus. Aposematic colouration is positively correlated with body size in certain groups of animals, suggesting that warning colours are more effective or that crypsis is harder to achieve in larger animals. Surprisingly, this relationship has not been recovered in studies investigating insects, which may have been confounded by a focus on aposematic taxa that are also gregarious. Millipede assassin bugs (Hemiptera: Reduviidae: Ectrichodiinae) comprise species with cryptic and aposematic colour patterns across a range of body sizes, are typically solitary as adults, and are thus an excellent model for investigating a possible association between colouration and body size. Here, we use a comprehensive phylogeny for Ectrichodiinae, ancestral state reconstruction of colouration, and phylogenetic comparative methods to test for a colouration-body size association. The ancestor of Ectrichodiinae is reconstructed as cryptically coloured, with multiple subsequent transitions between aposematic and cryptic colouration. Aposematic colouration is positively associated with male body length and supports the hypothesis that selection on Ectrichodiinae body size may influence evolutionary transitions between aposematic and cryptic colouration or alternatively that selection for aposematic colouration influences body size evolution.

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