MRE Symonds, MJL Magrath, TM Latty (2012) Reproductive consequences of male arrival order in the bark beetle Ips grandicollisJournal of Insect Behavior 25: 401-407 PDF

What’s it about?

Ips bark beetles infest recently felled pine material, but is there a cost to being a pioneer, and being the first beetle to land on a log. We showed that males that are first to arrive tend to fare less well in attracting females to their harems (Ips grandicollis is a harem polygynous beetle).

What’s the story behind it?

This was the second paper to emerge from my collaboration with Tanya Latty (now at University of Sydney) who I had met at the poster session at the International Society for Behavioral Ecology conference in Tours, France in 2006. This paper was actually the first to be written (before Latty et al. 2009 – you can click on the link to find more details about the whole project we worked on), and we submitted to several journals unsuccessfully, which was a soul-destroying, as originally we thought that this was the better paper of the two that we produced. Part of the problem was with the statistical analysis, which was somewhat complicated because of the experimental design we had involve logs placed out on different days, of different sizes and tracing exactly when new males arrived. Fortunately some help from Mike Magrath helped sharpen this up, and when we finally got around to resubmitting to Journal of Insect Behavior, this paper had the easiest review process of any paper I’ve been involved in, the most difficult thing to deal with being removal of a semi-colon from somewhere in the discussion.

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