Ecological Research

, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp 175–183 | Cite as

Egg size of skippers (Lepidoptera: Hesperiidae) in relation to their host specificity and to leaf toughness of host plants

  • Fusao Nakasuji


The adaptive significance of egg size of skippers (Lepidoptera; Hesperiidae) in Japan was evaluated in relation to the leaf toughness of their major host grasses. The hesperids that fed on tougher grasses laid larger eggs. Hesperids that laid larger eggs were larger in body size, but lower in fecundity. They also had a wider host range. Thus, despite the lower fecundity, hesperids may benefit from large eggs by having a wider host range of larvae. Grass feeders had wider range of host plants than broadleaf feeders.

Key words

Egg size Evolution Hesperiidae Host specificity Leaf toughness 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Berenbaum, M. (1983) Coumarins and caterpillars: A case for coevolution. Evolution37:163–179.Google Scholar
  2. Bernays, E. A. (1986) Diet-induced head allometry among foliage-chewing insects and its importance for graminivores. Science231:495–497.Google Scholar
  3. Blair, C. A. &Groves, J. R. (1952) Biology of the fruit tree red spidermiteMetatetranychus ulmi in South-East England. J. Hort. Sci.27: 14–43.Google Scholar
  4. Boutton, T. W., Cameron, G. N. &Smith, B. N. (1978) Insect herbivory on C3 and C4 grasses. Oecologia36:21–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Brody, M. S. &Lawler, L. R. (1984) Adaptive variation in offspring size in the terrestrial isopodArmadillidium vulgare. Oecologia61:55–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cates, R. G. &Rhoades, D. F. (1977) Patterns in the production of antiherbivore chemical defenses in plant communities. Biochem. Syst. Ecol.5:185–193.Google Scholar
  7. Chew, F. S. (1975) Coevolution of pierid butterflies and their cruciferous food plants. The relative quality of available resources. Oecologia20:117–127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Courtney, S. P. (1981) Coevolution of pierid butterflies and their cruciferous food plants. III.Anthocharis cardamines (L.) survival, development and oviposition on different host plants. Oecologia51:91–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Ehrlich, P. R. &Raven, P. H. (1964) Butterflies and plants: A study in coevolution. Evolution18: 586–608.Google Scholar
  10. Feeny, P. (1970) Seasonal changes in oak leaf tannins and nutrients as a cause of spring feeding by winter moth caterpillars. Ecology51:565–581.Google Scholar
  11. — (1976) Plant apparency and chemical defense. Rec. Adv. Phytochem.10:1–40.Google Scholar
  12. Fujioka, T. (1975) Butterflies of Japan. Kodansha, Tokyo (In Japanese).Google Scholar
  13. Fukuda, H., Hama, E., Kuzuya, T., Takahashi, A., Takahashi, M., Tanaka, H., Wakabayashi, M. &Watanabe, Y. (1984) The life histories of butterflies in Japan. IV. Hoikusha, Osaka (In Japanese with English summary).Google Scholar
  14. Futuyma, D. J., Cort, R. P. &van Noordwijk, I. (1984) Adaptation to host plants in the fall cankerworm (Alsophila pometaria) and its bearing on the evolution of host affiliation in phytophagous insects. Am. Nat.123:287–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Gilbert, L. E. (1975) Ecological consequences of a coevolved mutualism between butterflies and plants. “Coevolution of animal and plants” (ed. Gilbert, L. E. & Raven, P. H.), 210–240. University of Texas Press, Austin.Google Scholar
  16. Gutzke, W. H. N. &Packard, G. C. (1985) Hatching success in relation to egg size in painted turtles. Can. J. Zool.63:67–70.Google Scholar
  17. Harvey, G. T. (1977) Mean weight and rearing performance of successive egg clusters of eastern spruce budworm (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae). Can. Ent.109:487–496.Google Scholar
  18. Heidorn, H. &Joern, A. (1984) Differential herbivory on C3 versus C4 grasses by the grasshopperAgeneotettix deorum (Orthoptera: Acrididae). Oecologia69:19–25.Google Scholar
  19. Ishi, M. &Hidaka, T. (1979) Seasonal polymorphism of adult rice skipperParnara guttata guttata (Lepidoptera: Hesperiidae) and its control. Appl. Ent. Zool.14:173–184.Google Scholar
  20. Jermy, T. (1984) Evolution of insect/host plant relationships. Am. Nat.124:609–630.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Karlsson, B. &Wiklund, C. (1985) Egg weight variation in relation to egg mortality and starvation endurance of newly hatched larvae in some stayrid butterflies. Ecological Entomology10:205–211.Google Scholar
  22. Kimura, T. &Masaki, S. (1977) Brachypterism and seasonal adaptation inOrgyia thyellina Butler (Lepidoptera: Lymantriidae). Kontyu, Tokyo45:97–106.Google Scholar
  23. Lees, A. D. (1955) The physiology of diapause in arthropods. Oxford Univ. Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  24. Mashiko, K. (1982) Differences in both the egg size and clutch size of the freshwater prawnPalaemon paucidens de Haan in Sagami River. Jap. J. Ecol.32:445–451.Google Scholar
  25. Masuzawa, T., Suwa, H. &Nakasuji, F. (1983) Differences of oviposition preference and survival rate of two skipper butterfliesParnara guttata andPelopidas mathias (Lepidoptera: Hesperiidae) on rice plant and cogon grass. New Entomologists32:47–56.Google Scholar
  26. Marsh, E. (1986) Effects of egg size on offspring fitness and maternal fecundity in the orange throat darter,Etheostoma spectabile (Pisces: Percidae). Copeia No.1:18–30.Google Scholar
  27. Nakasuji, F. (1982) Seasonal changes in native host plants of a migrant skipper,Parnara guttata Bremer et Grey (Lepidoptera: Hesperiidae). Appl. Ent. Zool.17:146–148.Google Scholar
  28. — (1984) Seasonal polymorphism of egg size in a migrant skipper,Parnara guttata guttata (Lepidoptera: Hesperiidae). Kontyu, Tokyo52:253–259.Google Scholar
  29. — (1984) Rice skippers in Taiwan and their life histories. Tech. Bull. Food. and Fertilizer Technology Center, Taipei No.82:1–10.Google Scholar
  30. Ono, T. &Nakasuji, F. (1980) Comparison of flight activity and oviposition characteristics of seasonal forms of a migrant skipperParnara guttata guttata. Kontyu, Tokyo48:226–233.Google Scholar
  31. Price, P. E. (1977) General concepts on the evolutionary biology of parasites. Evolution31:405–420.Google Scholar
  32. Richards, L. &Myers, J. H. (1980) Maternal influence on size and emergence time of the cinnabar moth. Can. J. Zool.58:1452–1457.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Scriber, J. M. &Feeny, P. (1979) Growth of herbivorous caterpillars in relation to feeding specialization and to the growth form of their food plants. Ecology60:829–850.Google Scholar
  34. Shinoda, T. (1963) Diameter of eggs of three skipper species. Kakouchyo15:49–55 (In Japanese).Google Scholar
  35. Shirôzu, T. &Hara, H. (1962) Butterfly larvae in Japan. II. Hoikusha, Osaka (In Japanese).Google Scholar
  36. Smiley, J. T. (1985) Are chemical barriers necessary for evolution of butterfly-plant associations? Oecologia65:580–583CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Tanton, M. T. (1962) The effect of leaf “toughness” on the feeding of larvae of mustard beetlePhaedon cochleariae Fab. Entomol exp. appl.5:74–78.Google Scholar
  38. Taper, M. L. &Case, T. J. (1987) Interactions between oak tannins and parasite community complex: Unexpected benefits of tannins to cinipid gall-wasps. Oecologia71:254–261.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Williams, K. S., Lincoln, D. E. &Ehrlich, P. R. (1983) The coevolution ofEuphydryas chalcedona butterflies and their larval host plants I. Larval feeding behavior and host plant chemistry. Oecologia56:323–329.Google Scholar
  40. Wiklund, C. (1982) Generalist versus specialist utilization of host plants among butterflies. Proc. 5th Int. Symp. Insect-Plant Relationships. Wageningen: 181–191.Google Scholar
  41. — (1983) Fecundity, and the relation of egg weight of offspring fitness in the speckled wood butterflyPararge aegeria, or why don't butterfly females lay more eggs. Oikos40: 53–63.Google Scholar
  42. — (1984) Egg size variation in satyrid butterflies: adaptive vs historical ‘Bauplan”, and mechanistic explanations. Oikos43:391–400.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Ecological Society of Japan 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fusao Nakasuji
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Applied Entomology, Faculty of AgricultureOkayama UniversityOkayamaJapan

Personalised recommendations