Clarifying the mechanisms underlying shape alterations during insect metamorphosis is important for understanding exoskeletal morphogenesis. The large horn of the Japanese rhinoceros beetle Trypoxylus dichotomus is the result of drastic metamorphosis, wherein it appears as a rounded shape during pupation and then undergoes remodeling into an angular adult shape. However, the mechanical mechanisms underlying this remodeling process remain unknown. In this study, we investigated the remodeling mechanisms of the Japanese rhinoceros beetle horn by developing a physical simulation. We identified three factors contributing to remodeling by biological experiments – ventral adhesion, uneven shrinkage, and volume reduction – which were demonstrated to be crucial for transformation using a physical simulation. Furthermore, we corroborated our findings by applying the simulation to the mandibular remodeling of stag beetles. These results indicated that physical simulation applies to pupal remodeling in other beetles, and the morphogenic mechanism could explain various exoskeletal shapes.

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