, Volume 19, Issue 6, pp 447-453

Possible mutualism between females of the subsocial membracid Polyglypta dispar (Homoptera)

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Female Polyglypta dispar membracids facultatively guard egg masses or oviposit into masses guarded by other females. Defending females repel at least some enemies of both eggs and nymphs. Eggs of guarding females may be partially protected from parasitism by the presence of additional eggs laid by other females. Females sometimes desert egg masses or groups of nymphs, and undefended masses are sometimes adopted by other females. Some individuals remain on or near the plant where they grew up, and littermates sometimes oviposit into the same egg mass. Some copulating pairs are littermates, while others are not. Females with larger numbers of mature and nearly mature eggs in their ovaries are less likely to defend egg masses, and females desert smaller groups of nymphs more often.