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Oviposition site selection by the bromeliad-dweller harvestman Bourguyia hamata (Arachnida: Opiliones)

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Bourguyia hamata females oviposit almost exclusively inside the rosette formed by the curled leaves of the epiphytic bromeliad Aechmea nudicaulis. We investigated whether the architecture of the individual bromeliads influences oviposition site selection by this harvestman species. We collected data on the presence of clutches inside bromeliads, rosette length, rosette slope in relation to tree trunks, and the amount of debris inside the rosette. Additionally, we measured the water volume inside the rosettes as well as the variation in the humidity inside and outside bromeliads with long and short rosettes. Longer rosettes were preferred as oviposition site possibly because they accumulate more water and maintain lower internal humidity variation than the external environment. Although the slope of the rosettes did not influence the occurrence of oviposition, the probability of debris accumulation inside the rosettes increased with their slope, and the frequency of clutches was greater in bromeliads with small amounts of debris. A field experiment showed that bromeliads with water inside the rosette were more frequently used as oviposition sites than bromeliads without water. In conclusion, females oviposit predominantly in bromeliads that accumulate more water and have small amounts of debris inside the rosettes, probably because these characteristics promote a more adequate microhabitat for egg development.

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We are very grateful to the staff of the Cardoso Island State Park for logistical support, to Taís M. Nazareth, Bruno A. Buzatto, Gustavo Requena, and Rubens Alves for helping in the fieldwork, to Paulo Roberto Guimarães Jr., Paulo Enrique Peixoto, and Adriano S. Melo for helping with the statistical analyses, and to Ariovaldo A. Giaretta, Gustavo Q. Romero, Rogelio Macías-Ordóñez, Rodrigo Cogni, and an anonymous reviewer for helpful comments that greatly improved the manuscript. The study was supported by fellowships from the Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP, 02/00381-0 and 03/10639-7) and CAPES.

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Correspondence to Glauco Machado.

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Osses, F., Martins, E.G. & Machado, G. Oviposition site selection by the bromeliad-dweller harvestman Bourguyia hamata (Arachnida: Opiliones). J Ethol 26, 233–241 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10164-007-0054-z

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  • Animal–plant interaction
  • Bromeliaceae
  • Gonyleptidae
  • Habitat selection
  • Maternal care
  • Microhabitat
  • Plant architecture