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Oviposition responses to patch quality in the larch ladybird Aphidecta obliterata (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae): effects of aphid density, and con- and heterospecific tracks

  • T.H. Oliver (a1), J.E.L. Timms (a1), A. Taylor (a1) and S.R. Leather (a1)
Abstract

The effects and persistence of oviposition-deterring semiochemical cues from conspecific and heterospecific larval tracks on the oviposition rate of Aphidecta obliterata (Linnaeus) females were investigated. In addition, the effects of varying aphid prey density were considered and also whether any resulting response originated from differential nutritional status of females and/or due to aphid odour stimuli. The existence of oviposition responses to conspecific egg chemicals was also considered. Gravid A. obliterata females were deterred from oviposition by conspecific larval tracks and the effect was density dependent. Females actively avoided searching in these contaminated areas. Tracks induced a significant effect on oviposition for up to three days. Heterospecific tracks of the coccinellid Adalia bipunctata (Fabricius) or the chrysopid Chrysoperla carnea (Stephens) did not induce any oviposition response in A. obliterata females. Increasing aphid density induced increased oviposition rate in A. obliterata females. Nutritional status of females was an important factor in the relationship between aphid density and oviposition rate, but aphid associated cues (odours) were not. There was an inhibitory effect of extracts of conspecific egg-surface chemicals on oviposition by A. obliterata females. In the field, cannibalism, competition and limited food availability represent the major threats to egg and larval survival. Patch quality assessment mechanisms enable females to lay eggs at sites where offspring survival is maximized. Oviposition-deterring semiochemicals tend to promote more even distribution of predators over prey patches.

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*Fax: ++44 (0)2075942339 E-mail: s.leather@ic.ac.uk
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Bulletin of Entomological Research
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  • EISSN: 1475-2670
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