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Autecology, feeding preferences and reproductive biology of Chorthippus (Glyptobothrus) vagans (Eversmann, 1848) (Orthoptera: Gomphocerinae) in Mediterranean ecosystems

  • A.M. Cárdenas (a1), P. Gallardo (a1), L. Moyano (a1) and J.J. Presa (a2)

Chorthippus vagans is a common species of Gomphocerinae (Orthoptera) on the Iberian Peninsula. It is endangered in Central Europe where information about its ecological requirements is available; however, aspects of its biology are almost unknown in Mediterranean ecosystems, where it is widespread and common. The focus of this study was to determine how C. vagans adjusts its biology to environmental features of this ecosystem and to interpret how it may be affected by the ecological changes related to the re-vegetation programme linked to the construction of the Breña dam (SW Spain). The research parameters included the autoecology, feeding response and some aspects of reproduction of this species in the Southern Iberian Peninsula. To determine the local distribution and phenology of C. vagans, monthly samplings were conducted (2007–2010) in 12 sampling plots. For the food selection tests, ten nymphs and ten adults were placed individually in insectaries under controlled conditions. Grasses (Lolium sp.) and shrubs (Cistus sp.) were supplied ad libitum in two types of tests, monospecific and mixed diet. The reproductive biology was analysed by both observations of anatomical structures (integument, bristles, tibial spines, tarsal claws and mandibles) and ovarian dissections of 29 females and in laboratory rearing experiments with 15 pairs of adults. The results indicate that C. vagans shows an extended activity period which peaks at the end of summer. It is a polyphagous grasshopper, although adults show a slight preference for grasses. In addition, it is a univoltine species with spring–summer breeding activity.

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