Finite-element modelling reveals force modulation of jaw adductors in stag beetles.

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【作者】 Jana Goyens  Judith Soons  P. Aerts  Joris J. J. Dirckx 

【摘要】Male stag beetles carry large and heavy mandibles that arose through sexual selection over mating rights. Although the mandibles of Cyclommatus metallifer males are used in pugnacious fights, they are surprisingly slender. Our bite force measurements show a muscle force reduction of 18% for tip biting when compared with bites with the teeth located halfway along the mandibles. This suggests a behavioural adaptation to prevent failure. We confirmed this by constructing finite-element (FE) models that mimic both natural bite situations as well as the hypothetical situation of tip biting without muscle force modulation. These models, based on micro-CT images, investigate the material stresses in the mandibles for different combinations of bite location and muscle force. Young's modulus of the cuticle was experimentally determined to be 5.1 GPa with the double indentation method, and the model was validated by digital image correlation on living beetles. FE analysis proves to be a valuable tool in the investigation of the trade-offs of (animal) weapon morphology and usage. Furthermore, the demonstrated bite force modulation in male stag beetles suggests the presence of mechanosensors inside the armature.

【刊名】Journal of the Royal Society, Interface