Advertisement

Journal of Insect Behavior

, Volume 7, Issue 6, pp 859–872 | Cite as

Analysis of leaf-rolling behavior ofCaloptilia serotinella (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae)

  • T. D. Fitzgerald
  • K. L. Clark
Article

Abstract

The caterpillarCaloptilia serotinella generates the force required to roll leaves by stretching the silk strands it fixes between opposable plant surfaces. The Young's modulus of strands drawn by caterpillars at an average rate of 16 mm s−1 was 1.1×108 N m−2. Single strands stretched in a tensiometer had a final Young's modulus of 1.4×109 N m−2 and withstood a maximum force of 60 × 10−5 N (i.e., a 60-mg force) before breaking at 30% extension. Strands stretched approximately 14% beyond their equilibrium length by rolling caterpillars exerted an average axially retractive force of 3.2×10−5 N and drew the leaf 7×10−3 mm into the roll. During episodes of rolling, the caterpillars spun hundreds of strands capable of generating a collective force in excess of 0.1 N. Potential forces associated with wet contraction of strands were not harnessed by the caterpillar when rolling but subsequent supercontraction of the strands caused them to bind the roll tightly. Caterpillars appeared to facilitate leaf rolling by weakening the midrib with their mandibles.

Key words

leaf shelter-builder leaf-roller silk Caloptilia Gracillariidae 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Comstock, A. B. (1939).Handbook of Nature Study, 24th ed., Comstock, Ithaca, NY.Google Scholar
  2. Claflin, S. H., and Allen, D. C. (1981). Biology ofAncylis discigerana (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae).Can. Entomol. 113 265–270.Google Scholar
  3. Damman, H. (1987). Leaf quality and enemy avoidance by the larvae of a pyralid moth.Ecology 68 88–97.Google Scholar
  4. Denny, M. (1976). The physical properties of spider's silk and their roles in the design of orbwebs.J. Exp. Biol. 65 483–506.Google Scholar
  5. Fitzgerald, T. D., Clark, K. L., Vanderpool, R., and Phillips, C. (1991). Leaf shelter-building caterpillars harness forces generated by axial retraction of stretched and wetted silk.J. Insect Behav. 4 21–32.Google Scholar
  6. Fraenkel, G., and Fallil, F. (1981). The spinning (stiching) behaviour of the rice leaf folder,Cnaphalocrocis medinalis.Entomol. Exp. Appl. 29 138–146.Google Scholar
  7. Frost, S. W. (1959).Insect Life and Insect Natural History, Dover, New York.Google Scholar
  8. Gosline, J. M., DeMont, M. E., and Denny, M. W. (1986). The structure and properties of spider silk.Endeavour New Ser. B10(1): 37–43.Google Scholar
  9. Henson, W. R. (1958). The effects of radiation on the habitat temperatures of some poplar-inhabitating insects.Can. J. Zool. 36 463–478.Google Scholar
  10. Packard, A. S. (1987).Half Hours with Insects, Estes and Laurait, Boston, MA.Google Scholar
  11. Sandberg, S. L., and Berenbaum, M. R. (1989). Leaf-tying by tortricid larvae as an adaptation for feeding on phototoxicHypericum perforatum.J. Chem. Ecol. 15 875–885.Google Scholar
  12. Wainwright, J. A., Briggs, W. D., Currey, J. D., and Gosline, J. M. (1976).Mechanical Design in Organisms, John Wiley and Sons, New York.Google Scholar
  13. Work, R. W. (1981). A comparative study of the supercontraction of major ampullate silk fibers of orb-web-building spiders (Araneae).J. Arachnol. 9 299–308.Google Scholar
  14. Work, R. W. (1985). Viscoelastic behaviour and wet supercontraction of major ampullate silk fibers of certain orb-web-building spiders (Araneae).J. Exp. Biol. 118 379–404.Google Scholar
  15. Work, R. W., and Morosoff, N. (1982). A physico-chemical study of the supercontraction of spider major ampullate silk fibers.Textile Res. J. 52 349–356.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. D. Fitzgerald
    • 1
  • K. L. Clark
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesState University College at CortlandCortland

Personalised recommendations