Data from: Rapid divergence of nesting depth and digging appendages among tunneling dung beetle populations and species
Macagno, Anna L. M.; Moczek, Armin P.; Pizzo, Astrid (2015), Data from: Rapid divergence of nesting depth and digging appendages among tunneling dung beetle populations and species, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.nc66n
Many dung beetle communities are characterized by species that share very similar morphological, ecological, and behavioral traits and requirements yet appear to be stably maintained. Here, we document that the morphologically nearly indistinguishable, sympatric, and syntopic tunneling sister species Onthophagus taurus and Onthophagus illyricus may be avoiding competitive exclusion by nesting at remarkably different soil depths. Intriguingly, we also find rapid divergence in preferred nesting depth across native and recently established O. taurus populations. Furthermore, geometric morphometric analyses reveal that both inter- and intraspecific divergences in nesting depth are paralleled by similar changes in the shape of the primary digging appendages, the fore tibiae. Collectively, our results identify preferred nesting depth and tibial shape as surprisingly evolutionarily labile and with the potential to ease interspecific competition and/or to facilitate adaptation to local climatic conditions.