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Slow and fast development in two aphidophagous ladybirds on scarce and abundant prey supply

  • N. Singh (a1), G. Mishra (a1) and Omkar (a1)

Developmental rates are highly variable, both within and between genotypes and populations. But the rationale for two differential (slow and fast) developmental rates within same cohort under varying prey supply has yet not been explored. For this purpose, we investigated the effect of scarce and abundant prey supply on slow and fast development at 27°C in two aphidophagous ladybirds, Menochilus sexmaculatus (Fabricius) and Propylea dissecta (Mulsant) and its effect on their body mass and reproductive attributes. The ladybirds were provided with scarce and abundant supply of Aphis craccivora Koch under standardized abiotic conditions in the laboratory. A clear bimodal (two peaks, where the first peak represented the fast developing individuals and the second peak slow developing individuals) pattern of distribution for both prey supplies was obtained, which got skewed with change in prey supply. On abundant prey supply, more fast developing individuals (139 M. sexmaculatus and 123 P. dissecta) were found and less (46 M. sexmaculatus and 36 P. dissecta) on scarce prey supply. Slow developing individuals had female biased sex ratio, higher longevity and lower body mass. Fast developing females laid higher number of eggs with higher egg viability. Results of the study are indicative of occurrence and constancy of the slow and fast developing individuals in the egg batch.

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