Males of the Asian rhinoceros beetle, Trypoxylus dichotomus, possess exaggerated head and thoracic horns that scale dramatically out of proportion to body size. While studies of insulin signaling suggest that this pathway regulates nutrition-dependent growth including exaggerated horns, what regulates disproportionate growth has yet to be identified. The Fat signaling pathway is a potential candidate for regulating disproportionate growth of sexually-selected traits, a hypothesis we advanced in a previous paper (Gotoh et al., 2015). To investigate the role of Fat signaling in the growth and scaling of the sexually dimorphic, condition-dependent traits of the in the Asian rhinoceros beetle T. dichotomus, we used RNA interference to knock down expression of fat and its co-receptor dachsous. Knockdown of fat, and to a lesser degree dachsous, caused shortening and widening of appendages, including the head and thoracic horns. However, scaling of horns to body size was not affected. Our results show that Fat signaling regulates horn growth in T. dichotomus as it does in appendage growth in other insects. However, we provide evidence that Fat signaling does not mediate the disproportionate, positive allometric growth of horns in T. dichotomus.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Insect Science