Caravan, Holly E. (2012) A chink in the armour: an investigation of thrips soldier morphology and sex in relation to fighting ability. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.
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Explaining the persistence of self-sacrificing individuals throughout evolutionary time has been a central area of study for evolutionary biologists since Darwin. In total, seven species of Australian gall inducing thrips have evolved soldiers with enlarged femurs that are used to defend against invertebrate invaders. In the species Kladothrips intermedius, the sexes of soldiers differ morphologically - the females have more robust femurs than the male soldiers, which have longer wings, suggesting less commitment to this defensive role. There was no difference in the fighting abilities of the male and female soldiers in K intermedius. Morphology of the soldier, within a sex, was related to the outcome of a battle with an invader, but not in the way expected. Females with slimmer femurs were more likely to battle an invader. Also, female soldiers with shorter wings were better able to dispatch an invader while male soldiers with longer wings were less likely to battle an invader.
|Item Type:||Thesis (Masters)|
|Additional Information:||Includes bibliographical references (leaves 57-75)|
|Department(s):||Science, Faculty of > Biology|
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