Journal of Insect Behavior

, Volume 22, Issue 2, pp 121–133 | Cite as

Antarctic Collembolans Use Chemical Signals to Promote Aggregation and Egg Laying

  • J. B. BenoitEmail author
  • M. A. Elnitsky
  • G. G. Schulte
  • R. E. LeeJr.
  • D. L. Denlinger


Terrestrial arthropods that reside in Antarctica are exposed to considerable periods of environmental stress, thus factors that promote identification of favorable microhabitats are extremely important. In this study, we report the presence of chemical cues that induce oviposition and aggregation in two species of Antarctic collembolans, Cryptopygus antarcticus and Friesea grisea. Responses of the Collembola were enhanced by low temperatures but were not altered by humidity. One of the major physiological benefits derived from an aggregation was a substantial reduction in water loss rates. Although F. grisea and C. antarcticus were commonly found in cross-species aggregations, we found no evidence to suggest cross-species attraction. When individuals were exposed to areas previously occupied by groups of Collembola, more eggs were laid. Thus, chemicals released by the collembolans appear to induce both aggregation and oviposition in these Antarctic species.


Aggregation oviposition pheromone Collembola Antarctica 



We thank the staff at Palmer Station, Antarctica for their assistance. Funding for this research was provided by NSF grants OPP-0337656 and OPP-0413786.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. B. Benoit
    • 1
    Email author
  • M. A. Elnitsky
    • 2
  • G. G. Schulte
    • 2
  • R. E. LeeJr.
    • 2
  • D. L. Denlinger
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EntomologyThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  2. 2.Department of ZoologyMiami UniversityOxfordUSA

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