University of Oulu

Female reproduction and conspecific utilisation in an egg-carrying bug : -Who carries, who cares?

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Author: Katvala, Mari1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Science, Department of Biology
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.7 MB)
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Language: English
Published: 2003
Publish Date: 2003-03-29
Thesis type: Doctoral Dissertation
Defence Note: Academic Dissertation to be presented with the assent of the Faculty of Science, University of Oulu, for public discussion in Kuusamonsali (Auditorium YB210), Linnanmaa, on March 29th, 2003, at 12 noon.
Reviewer: Docent Göran Arnqvist
Docent Veijo Jormalainen


Female ability to exploit conspecifics in reproduction may have unusual expressions. I studied the reproductive behaviour of the golden egg bug (Phyllomorpha laciniata; Heteroptera, Coreidae) experimentally in the field and in the laboratory. Female golden egg bugs lay their eggs mainly on the backs of conspecific males and other females. Non-parental eggs are often carried. Occasionally, the eggs are laid on the food plant (Paronychia spp; Polycarpea, Caryophyllaceae) of the species but typically, those eggs survive poorly due to egg parasitism and predation. I explored the dependence of female reproduction on conspecific presence and encounter rate. I also studied female current reproductive state (which depends on if she has recently oviposited) in relation to her activity as well as male choice of a female.

Female bugs preferred to oviposit on conspecifics when presented with a choice between a bug and a food plant. When alone females often did not lay eggs. Increased encounter rate with others increased female egg laying rate. Survival of carried eggs among bugs did not vary significantly although males received more eggs than females. Females with high current fecundity (mature eggs accumulated to reproductive tract) were more active than females with lower current fecundity (recently oviposited). Females with high current fecundity seemed to search for conspecifics to lay eggs on. Males also preferred to court females with high current fecundity. These females were more likely to oviposit immediately after mating, lowering the risk of female remating before oviposition.

To conclude, conspecifics are important egg-laying substrates for female golden egg bugs. Conspecific availability affects female egg laying and the rate of egg production in short term. In particular, males are necessary for egg-laying females and they typically receive unrelated eggs when they court females. Sexual interactions resulting from female polyandry are crucial factors that maintain female egg laying on the backs of males and other females in the unique reproductive system of the golden egg bug.

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Series: Acta Universitatis Ouluensis. A, Scientiae rerum naturalium
ISSN-E: 1796-220X
ISBN: 951-42-6969-1
ISBN Print: 951-42-6968-3
Issue: 398
Copyright information: © University of Oulu, 2003. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.