Altruism during predation in an assassin bug
- 400 Downloads
Zelus annulosus is an assassin bug species mostly noted on Hirtella physophora, a myrmecophyte specifically associated with the ant Allomerus decemarticulatus known to build traps on host tree twigs to ambush insect preys. The Z. annulosus females lay egg clutches protected by a sticky substance. To avoid being trapped, the first three instars of nymphs remain grouped in a clutch beneath the leaves on which they hatched, yet from time to time, they climb onto the upper side to group ambush preys. Long-distance prey detection permits these bugs to capture flying or jumping insects that alight on their leaves. Like some other Zelus species, the sticky substance of the sundew setae on their forelegs aids in prey capture. Group ambushing permits early instars to capture insects that they then share or not depending on prey size and the hunger of the successful nymphs. Fourth and fifth instars, with greater needs, rather ambush solitarily on different host tree leaves, but attract siblings to share large preys. Communal feeding permits faster prey consumption, enabling small nymphs to return sooner to the shelter of their leaves. By improving the regularity of feeding for each nymph, it likely regulates nymphal development, synchronizing molting and subsequently limiting cannibalism.
KeywordsConspecific tolerance Predation Prey sharing Reduviidae Zelus annulosus
We are grateful to Andrea Yockey-Dejean for proofreading the manuscript and the Laboratoire Environnement de Petit Saut for furnishing logistical help. Financial support for this study was partially provided by a fellowship from the French Investissement d’Avenir grant managed by the Agence Nationale de la Recherche (CEBA, ref. ANR-10-LABX-0025), project Tri-Nutri, and by the Programme Convergence 2007–2013 Région Guyane (project Bi-APPLI) from the European Community.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
The experiments comply with the current laws of the country in which they were conducted.
- Ables JR (1975) Notes on the biology of the predacious pentatomid Euthyrhynchus floridanus (L.). J Georgia Entomol Soc 10:353–356Google Scholar
- Cerda X, Dejean A (2011) Predation by ants on arthropods and other animals. In: Polidori C (ed) Predation in the Hymenoptera: an evolutionary perspective. Transworld Research Network, Trivandrum, pp 39–78Google Scholar
- Coulson J, Coulson T (1995) Group hunting by Harris’ hawks in Texas. J Rapt Res 29:265–267Google Scholar
- Edwards JS (1966) Observations on the life history and predatory behaviour of Zelus exsanguis (Stål) (Heteroptera: Reduviidae). Proc R Entomol Soc London, Series A, Gen Entomol 41:21–24Google Scholar
- Forthman M, Weirauch C (2012) Toxic associations: a review of the predatory behaviors of millipede assassin bugs (Hemiptera: Reduviidae: Ectrichodiinae). Eur J Entomol 109:147–153Google Scholar
- Grégoire J-C (1988) Larval gregariousness in the Chrysomelidae. In: Jolivet P, Petitpierre E, Hsiao T (eds) The biology of Chrysomelidae. Junk, Dordrecht, pp 251–258Google Scholar
- Jackson RR, Salm K, Nelson XJ (2010) Specialized prey selection behavior of two East African assassin bugs, Scipinnia repax and Nagusta sp. that prey on social jumping spiders. J Insect Sc 10:82Google Scholar
- Janz N (2002) Evolutionary ecology of oviposition strategies. In: Hilker M, Meiners T (eds) Chemoecology of insect eggs and egg deposition. Blackwell, Berlin, pp 349–376Google Scholar
- Jolivet P (2008) Cycloalexy. In: Capinera JL (ed) Encyclopedia of entomology. Springer, Berlin, pp 1139–1140Google Scholar
- Leimar O, Connor RC (2003) By-product benefits, reciprocity, and pseudoreciprocity in mutualism. In: Hammerstein P (ed) Genetic and cultural evolution of cooperation. MIT, Cambridge, pp 203–222Google Scholar
- Maran SPM, Ambrose DP (2000) Paralytic potential of Catamiarus brevipennis (Serville), a potential biological control agent (Insecta: Heteroptera: Reduviidae). In: Ignacimuth A, Sen A, Janarthanan S (eds) Biotechnological applications for integrated pest management. Oxford, New Delhi, pp 125–131Google Scholar
- Moore MP, Burt CR, Whitney TD, Hastings SA, Chang GC (2012) Does social feeding improve larval survival of the two-spotted lady beetle, Adalia bipunctata? J Ins Sc 12:102Google Scholar
- Schaefer CW (2003) Prosorrhyncha (Heteroptera and Coleorrhyncha). In: Resh VH, Cardé RT (eds) Encyclopedia of insects. Academic, San Diego, pp 947–965Google Scholar
- Weirauch C (2006) Observations on the sticky trap predator Zelus luridus Stål (Heteroptera, Reduviidae, Harpactorinae), with the description of a novel gland associated with the female genitalia. Denisia 19:1169–1180Google Scholar
- Wilson EO (1971) The insect societies. Belknap Press of Harvard University, CambridgeGoogle Scholar