Egg laying preferences and larval performance in Dermestes maculatus

Woodcock, L., Gennard, Dorothy and Eady, Paul (2013) Egg laying preferences and larval performance in Dermestes maculatus. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata, 148 (2). pp. 188-195. ISSN 0013-8703

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Dermestes maculatus DeGeer (Coleoptera: Dermestidae) is both a pest of dried stored products and, through its colonization of carrion, a forensically important species. However, little is known about the consequences of female oviposition site preferences on larval growth and development. To examine this, non-virgin female beetles were offered a choice of food resources that had been aged to various extents to explore the adaptive nature of female oviposition preferences. Dermestes maculatus females consistently preferred to oviposit on muscle in contrast to either fat or bone marrow. Constraining larvae onto one of the three resource types confirmed that larvae grew faster and eclosed into larger adults when fed on muscle than when fed on either fat or bone marrow. In addition, the degree of sexual dimorphism was also related to food resource, with the greatest extent of size dimorphism (females larger than males) being evident on the preferred muscle resource. This conforms to the view that intraspecific variation in sexual size dimorphism is driven by intersexual differences in phenotypic plasticity, with females being able to reach greater size than males when conditions are good. The results indicate that D. maculatus female oviposition preferences are adaptive in that adult oviposition choice can enhance offspring fitness and so broadly conforms to the oviposition preference-larval performance hypothesis as noted in a number of phytophagous insects. © 2013 The Netherlands Entomological Society.

Keywords:Coleoptera, Dermestidae, Forensics, Larval growth, Larval survival, Oviposition, Oviposition preference, Patch dynamics hypothesis, Phenotypic plasticity, sexual dimorphism, bmjquery
Subjects:D Veterinary Sciences, Agriculture and related subjects > D300 Animal Science
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
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ID Code:11605
Deposited On:16 Aug 2013 15:21

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