RELIABLE SEXING OF ADULT CONOPHTHORUS (COLEOPTERA: SCOLYTIDAE) BEETLES
Published online by Cambridge University Press: 31 May 2012
Conophthorus Hopkins 1915 cone beetles are among the most damaging pests of pine (Pinus spp.) seed production in North America (Hedlin et al. 1980; Cibrián-Tovar et al. 1986). Current work on cone beetle molecular identification and semiochemicals requires a rapid and reliable method for sexing adult beetles. Head microsculpturation (Schwarz 1895; Wood 1982), overall beetle length, head width, and internal genital structures (or parts of them) visible when extruded through the genital opening (Lyons 1956) have been suggested as characters to sex adult Conophthorus. Herdy (1959) pointed out that abdominal tergite morphology could be used to distinguish males from females. The latter seems to be the most reliable, non-destructive way to sex Conophthorus specimens. Published illustrations (Kinzer and Ridgill 1972) have been found difficult to interpret by many researchers. To increase the reliability in sexing adult Conophthorus beetles, we prepared scanning electron micrographs (SEMs) of the terminal abdominal tergites of adult males and females, which we present here, clearly showing the diagnostic features of each sex.
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