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Egg and larval load assessment and its influence on oviposition behaviour of the leaf beetle Galerucella nymphaeae

Abstract

The oviposition behaviour of the water-lily beetle Galerucella nymphaeae was examined. This species is a specialist herbivore on the floating leaves of nymphaeids Nymphaeaceae and especially on the yellow water-lily, Nuphar lutea. Females lay their eggs in clutches on the leaves, and after hatching, the larvae feed on the leaves. The quality of the leaves decreases quickly after the larvae hatch, and eventually the leaves will sink below the water surface, whereupon the eggs, 1st-instar larvae and pupae are killed by drowning. The influence of conspecific eggs, larvae and feeding tracks on the oviposition preferences of the beetles was tested. Females were allowed to choose between fresh leaves and leaves with conspecific eggs and larvae as well as between leaves with larvae and leaves with feeding tracks but no larvae. An attempt was also made to determine whether eggs and larvae affect the oviposition rate of females when they are not given the opportunity to oviposit on untouched leaves. The results indicate that females tended to avoid leaves with conspecific larvae or to exhibit a decreased oviposition rate on such leaves. Females also avoided conspecific eggs, although the oviposition rate was not influenced by the presence of conspecific eggs. When females were allowed to choose between leaves with larvae and leaves with feeding tracks, possible discrimination against leaves with larvae just fails to reach the 5% level.

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Mappes, J., Mäkelä, I. Egg and larval load assessment and its influence on oviposition behaviour of the leaf beetle Galerucella nymphaeae . Oecologia 93, 38–41 (1993). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00321188

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Key words

  • Galerucella nymphaeae
  • Oviposition
  • Egg load
  • Larval load