Bess beetles are sapro-xillophagous insects that inhabit decaying logs. They display sub-social behavior and acoustic communication. Adults produce sounds with an abdomino-alary stridulatory system. The sixth abdominal tergum has lateral protuberances with spines (pars stridens), whereas the hind wings have spines in the radial cell (plectrum). The potential taxonomic utility of these spines has not been studied. We evaluated the variation of spines in the plectrum of adult females sampling four species of Proculini using traditional and geometric morphometric methods. We divided the plectrum into five zones to compare the density, size and shape of spines among zones and among species comparing each zone separately. Spine shape and size were quantified with 2D cartesian coordinates and four variables from SEM micrographs. Separate univariate and multivariate analyses of variance revealed that the size, density and shape of spines is different among zones in each of the four species. Also, spine shape and size in all zones is different among species, which would imply that plectrum spines might have taxonomic utility. Additionally, disparity analyses showed that the peripheral zones have a higher variability, and the disparity values in the middle and apex zones are higher in the two species with a wide distribution range.
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