Survival of Seasonal Flooding in the Amazon by the Terrestrial Insect Conotrachelus dubiae O’Brien & Couturier (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), a Pest of the Camu-Camu Plant, Myrciaria dubia (Myrtaceae)
The weevil Conotrachelus dubiae O’Brien & Couturier (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) is a pest of an economically important Amazonian fruit tree Myrciaria dubia (Myrtaceae). This tree grows in seasonally flooded environments, and how weevil larvae survive flooding has not been studied. From December 2004 to May 2009, five experiments were conducted in natural conditions and in the laboratory, with the aim of understanding the mechanisms that allow the survival of C. dubiae larvae in seasonal floods in Amazonia. The larvae of C. dubiae were kept under water for over 93 days. Older instars exposed to periodic circulation of water survived better than younger instars in addition to all larvae that were kept continuously under uncirculated water. Individuals that were collected from plots of M. dubia located in flooded soils and non-flooded soils did not exhibit statistically significant differences in their levels of survival indicating that the variation in survival of flooding events is due to phenotypic plasticity of the species and not to local adaptation by the populations in different environments. We speculate that larvae can survive floods without major physiological changes as larvae appear to obtain oxygen from water by cutaneous diffusion, assisted by caudal movements.
KeywordsFlooded forests fruit tree survival strategy weevil
We are very grateful to Laurence Goury (Direction de l’Information et de la Communication/Institut de recherche pour le développement, France) for his help to provide manuscripts and other information related to this research, to Jerónimo Vega and Marllori Vela for their work in the laboratory, and finally to Mario Irarua and Sapuena community farmers for their assistance in the fieldwork. This research was developed in the Biodiversity Program of Instituto de Investigaciones de la Amazonía Peruana and supported by the INCAGRO-MINAG fund.
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