, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 357-362

“Egg dumping” in lace bugs (Gargaphia solani, Hemiptera: Tingidae)

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Data are presented which document that females of the subsocial lace bug, Gargaphia solani lay eggs in the nests of conspecifics whenever the opportunity arises. Because of an inverse relationship between time invested in maternal care and fecundity, maternal behavior in G. solani is an ecologically expensive trait that is adaptive only in the face of heavy predation on eggs and nymphs. By facultatively utilizing the maternal defensive behavior of conspecifics, it is possible for egg donors to protect their progeny from predators without limiting fecundity. Whenever possible, females oviposit in recently established egg masses of conspecifics. While guarding their own eggs, egg recipients inadvertently protect the eggs of egg donors. Egg donors need not establish and guard their own masses as long as there are females with egg masses in the vicinity. Instead, egg donors are free to lay as many eggs as physiologically possible by avoiding long periods of maternal care.

Published with the approval of the Director of the Delaware Agricultural Experiment Station as Miscellaneous Paper No. 1048, Contribution No. 544 of the Department of Entomology and Applied Ecology, University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware, USA