Eur. J. Entomol. 105 (3): 381-389, 2008 | 10.14411/eje.2008.048

Weighty matters: Body size, diet and specialization in aphidophagous ladybird beetles (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae)

John J. SLOGGETT
Tussen Beide Markten 45, 9712 CC Groningen, The Netherlands; e-mail: johnsloggett@yahoo.co.uk

Aphidophagous ladybirds exhibit a broad range of body sizes. Until now this has been thought to be a function of the different prey densities that they feed at, with smaller ladybirds feeding at lower prey densities. The size of the prey species they feed on has been considered to have no relationship with ladybird body size. However, these arguments possess a limited capacity to explain observed data from the field. I here demonstrate a more realistic, complex approach incorporating both prey density and the size of prey species. Small ladybirds can feed on small aphids at both low and high densities. However when the aphid species is large they cannot catch the older, bigger, more energy-rich aphid instars due to their small size. They are thus unable to feed on large aphid prey at low densities, although at higher densities numbers of the smaller instars may be sufficient to sustain them. By contrast large ladybirds can feed on large aphids at both low and high densities due to their superior ability to catch the bigger, more energy-rich older aphids; however they cannot be sustained by low densities of small aphids due to food limitation consequent on their large size. This more complex association between ladybird size, prey size and prey density possesses a better explanatory power for earlier field data. Because of this relationship, ladybird body size also provides an important trade-off determining dietary breadth and specialization in the aphidophagous Coccinellidae. Dietary specialists more closely match the size of their limited prey species, have higher overall capture efficiencies and can thus continue to reproduce at lower aphid densities for longer. By contrast dietary generalists adopt a one-size-fits-all strategy, are medium-sized and have lower capture efficiencies of individual prey species, thus requiring higher aphid densities. The role of body-size in dietary specialization is supported by data from the British fauna. Rather than trade-offs related to prey chemistry, which have hitherto been the centre of attention, body size trade-offs are the likely most important universal factor underlying dietary specialization in aphidophagous coccinellids.

Keywords: Body size, prey size, prey density, capture efficiency, dietary breadth, specialization, Coccinellidae, aphids

Received: October 15, 2007; Accepted: January 28, 2008; Published: July 31, 2008

Download citation

References

  1. AGARWALA B.K. & BARDHANROY P. 1999: Numerical response of ladybird beetles (Col., Coccinellidae) to aphid prey (Hom., Aphididae) in a field bean in north-east India. J. Appl. Entomol. 123: 401-405 Go to original source...
  2. BANKS C.J. 1955: An ecological study of Coccinellidae (Col.) associated with Aphis fabae Scop. on Vicia faba. Bull. Entomol. Res. 46: 561-587 Go to original source...
  3. BLACKMAN R.L. 1965: Studies on specificity in Coccinellidae. Ann. Appl. Biol. 56: 336-338 Go to original source...
  4. BLACKMAN R.L. 1967a: The effects of different aphid foods on Adalia bipunctata L. and Coccinella 7-punctata L. Ann. Appl. Biol. 59: 207-219 Go to original source...
  5. BLACKMAN R.L. 1967b: Selection of aphid prey by Adalia bipunctata L. and Coccinella 7-punctata L. Ann. Appl. Biol. 59: 331-338 Go to original source...
  6. BLACKMAN R.L. & EASTOP V.F. 1994: Aphids on the World's Trees. An Identification and Information Guide. CAB International, Wallingford, 987 pp
  7. BRISTOW C.M. 1988: What makes a predator specialize? Trends Ecol. Evol. 3: 1-2 Go to original source...
  8. BROWN J.H., GILLOOLY J.F., ALLEN A.P., SAVAGE V.M. & WEST G.B. 2004: Towards a metabolic theory of ecology. Ecology 85: 1771-1789. Go to original source...
  9. CALDER W.A., III 1984: Size, Function and Life-History. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 431 pp
  10. CHAPIN J.B. 1985: Revision of the genus Mulsantina Weise (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae). Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 78: 348-368 Go to original source...
  11. DIXON A.F.G. 1959: An experimental study of the searching behaviour of the predatory coccinellid beetle Adalia decempunctata (L.). J. Anim. Ecol. 28: 259-281 Go to original source...
  12. DIXON A.F.G. 2000: Insect Predator-Prey Dynamics: Ladybird Beetles and Biological Control. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 268 pp
  13. DIXON A.F.G. 2007: Body size and resource partitioning in ladybirds. Popul. Ecol. 49: 45-50 Go to original source...
  14. DIXON A.F.G. & GUO Y.Q. 1993: Egg and cluster size in ladybird beetles (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae): The direct and indirect effects of aphid abundance. Eur. J. Entomol. 90: 457-463
  15. DIXON A.F.G. & HEMPTINNE J.-L. 2001: Body size distribution in predatory ladybird beetles reflects that of their prey. Ecology 82: 1847-1856 Go to original source...
  16. DIXON A.F.G. & STEWART L.A. 1991: Size and foraging in ladybird beetles. In Polgar L., Chambers R.J., Dixon A.F.G. & Hodek I. (eds): Behaviour and Impact of Aphidophaga. SPB Academic Publishing, The Hague, pp. 123-132
  17. EL-HARIRI G. 1966: Laboratory studies on the reproduction of Adalia bipunctata (L.) (Col., Coccinellidae). Entomol. Exp. Appl. 9: 200-204 Go to original source...
  18. ELLIOTT N.C. & KIECKHEFER R.W. 1990: A thirteen year survey of the aphidophagous insects of alfalfa. Prairie Nat. 22: 87-96
  19. EVANS E.W. 2004: Habitat displacement of North American ladybirds by an introduced species. Ecology 85: 637-647 Go to original source...
  20. FRECHETTE B., DIXON A.F.G., ALAUZET C., BOUGHENOU N. & HEMPTINNE J.-L. 2006: Should aphidophagous ladybirds be reluctant to lay eggs in the presence of unsuitable prey? Entomol. Exp. Appl. 118: 121-127 Go to original source...
  21. FUKUNAGA Y. & AKIMOTO S. 2007: Toxicity of the aphid Aulacorthum magnoliae to the predator Harmonia axyridis (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) and genetic variance in the assimilation of the toxic aphids in H. axyridis larvae. Entomol. Sci. 10: 45-53 Go to original source...
  22. GAGNE W.C. & MARTIN J.L. 1968: The insect ecology of red pine plantations in central Ontario. V. The Coccinellidae (Coleoptera). Can. Entomol. 100: 835-846 Go to original source...
  23. GORDON R.D. 1985: The Coccinellidae (Coleoptera) of America north of Mexico. J. N. Y. Entomol. Soc. 93: 1-912
  24. HEMPTINNE J.-L., GAUDIN M., DIXON A.F.G. & LOGNAY G. 2000: Social feeding in ladybird beetles: adaptive significance and mechanism. Chemoecology 10: 149-152 Go to original source...
  25. HIPPA H., KOPONEN S. & LAINE T. 1978: On the feeding biology of Coccinella hieroglyphica L. (Col., Coccinellidae). Rep. Kevo Subarctic Res. Stat. 14: 18-20
  26. HIPPA H., KOPONEN S. & ROINE R. 1984: Larval growth of Coccinella hieroglyphica L. (Col., Coccinellidae) fed on aphids and preimarginal stages of Galerucella sagittariae (Col., Chrysomelidae). Rep. Kevo Subarctic Res. Stat. 19: 67-70
  27. HODEK I. 1973: Biology of Coccinellidae. Academia, Prague, 260 pp
  28. HODEK I. 1996: Food relationships. In Hodek I. & Honek A. (eds): Ecology of Coccinellidae. Kluwer Academic Publ., Dordrecht, pp. 143-238
  29. HONEK A. 1985: Habitat preferences of aphidophagous coccinellids (Coleoptera). Entomophaga 30: 253-264 Go to original source...
  30. IABLOKOFF-KHNZORIAN S.M. 1982: Les Coccinelles. Coleopteres - Coccinellidae. Tribu Coccinellini des Regions Palearctique et Orientale. Societe Nouvelle des Editions Boubee, Paris, 568 pp
  31. JAENIKE J. 1990: Host specialization in phytophagous insects. Annu. Rev. Ecol. Syst. 21: 243-273 Go to original source...
  32. KESTEN U. 1969: Zur Morphologie und Biologie von Anatis ocellata (L.) (Coleoptera, Coccinellidae). Z. Angew. Entomol. 63: 412-455 Go to original source...
  33. KLAUSNITZER B. 1968: Zur Biologie von Myrrha octodecimguttata (L.) (Col., Coccinellidae). Entomol. Nachr. 12: 102-104
  34. KLAUSNITZER B. & KLAUSNITZER H. 1997: Marienkaefer. Die neue Brehm Buecherei 451, Westarp Wissenschaften, Magdeburg, Germany, 175 pp
  35. KLINGAUF F. 1967: Abwehr- und Meidereaktionen von Blattlaeusen (Aphididae) bei Bedrohung durch Raeubern und Parasiten. Z. Angew. Entomol. 60: 269-317 Go to original source...
  36. LIU J., WU K., HOPPER K.R. & ZHAO K. 2004: Population dynamics of Aphis glycines (Homoptera: Aphididae) and its natural enemies in soybean in northern China. Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 97: 235-239 Go to original source...
  37. MAJERUS M.E.N. 1988: Some notes on the 18-spot ladybird (Myrrha octodecimguttata L.) (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae). Br. J. Entomol. Nat. Hist. 1: 11-13
  38. MAJERUS M.E.N. 1994: Ladybirds. New Naturalist Series no. 81. HarperCollins, London, 367 pp
  39. MICHAUD J.P. 2005: On the assessment of prey suitability in aphidophagous Coccinellidae. Eur. J. Entomol. 102: 385-390 Go to original source...
  40. MIGNAULT M.-P., ROY M. & BRODEUR J. 2006: Soybean aphid predators in Quebec and the suitability of Aphis glycines as prey for three Coccinellidae. BioControl 51: 89-106 Go to original source...
  41. MILLS N.J. 1981: Essential and alternative foods for some British Coccinellidae. Entomol. Gaz. 32: 197-202
  42. OMKAR & MISHRA G. 2005: Preference-performance of a generalist predatory ladybird: a laboratory study. Biol. Control 34: 187-195 Go to original source...
  43. OMKAR, GUPTA A.K. & PERVEZ A. 2006: Attack, escape and predation rates of larvae of two aphidophagous ladybirds during conspecific and heterospecific interactions. Biocontrol Sci. Technol. 16: 295-305 Go to original source...
  44. RANA J.S., DIXON A.F.G. & JAROSIK V. 2002: Costs and benefits of prey specialization in a generalist insect predator. J. Anim. Ecol. 71: 15-22 Go to original source...
  45. SCHEURER S. 1971: Der Einfluss der Ameisen und der naturlichen Feinde auf einige an Pinus sylvestris L. lebende Cinarinen in der Duebener-Heide (DDR). Pol. Pis. Entomol. 41: 197-229
  46. SCHMIDT-NIELSEN K. 1984: Scaling: Why is Animal Size So Important? Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 256 pp
  47. SCHOONHOVEN L.M., JERMY T. & VAN LOON J.J.A. 1998: InsectPlant Biology. From Physiology to Evolution. Chapman-Hall, London, 409 pp
  48. SIEGEL S. & CASTELLAN N.J., JR. 1988: Nonparametric Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences. 2nd ed. McGraw-Hill, New York, 399 pp
  49. SLOGGETT J.J. 2008: Habitat and dietary specificity in aphidophagous ladybirds (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae): explaining specialization. Proc. Neth. Entomol. Soc. Meet. 19: 95-113
  50. SLOGGETT J.J. & LORENZ M.W. 2008: Egg composition and reproductive investment in aphidophagous ladybird beetles (Coccinellidae: Coccinellini): egg development and interspecific variation. Physiol. Entomol., in press Go to original source...
  51. SLOGGETT J.J. & MAJERUS M.E.N. 1994: The Cambridge Ladybird Survey 17: 13-14
  52. SLOGGETT J.J. & MAJERUS M.E.N. 2000a: Habitat preferences and diet in the predatory Coccinellidae (Coleoptera): an evolutionary perspective. Biol. J. Linn. Soc. 70: 63-88 Go to original source...
  53. SLOGGETT J.J. & MAJERUS M.E.N. 2000b: Aphid-mediated coexistence of ladybirds (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) and the wood ant Formica rufa L.: seasonal effects, interspecific variability and the evolution of a coccinellid myrmecophile. Oikos 89: 345-359 Go to original source...
  54. SLOGGETT J.J., VOLKL W., SCHULZE W., GRAF VON DER SCHULENBURG J.H. & MAJERUS M.E.N 2002: The ant-associations and diet of the ladybird Coccinella magnifica (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae). Eur. J. Entomol. 99: 565-569 Go to original source...
  55. STEWART L.A., HEMPTINNE J.-L. & DIXON A.F.G. 1991: Reproductive tactics of ladybird beetles: relationships between egg size, ovariole number and developmental time. Func. Ecol. 5: 380-385 Go to original source...
  56. TAUBER M.J., TAUBER C.A., RUBERSON J.R., MILBRATH L.R. & ALBURQUERQUE G.S. 1993: Evolution of prey specificity via 3 steps. Experientia 49: 1113-1117 Go to original source...
  57. UENO H. 2003: Genetic variation in larval period and pupal mass in an aphidophagous ladybird beetle (Harmonia axyridis) reared in different environments. Entomol. Exp. Appl. 106: 211-218 Go to original source...
  58. WARE R.L. & MAJERUS M.E.N. 2008: Intraguild predation of immature stages of British and Japanese coccinellids by the invasive ladybird Harmonia axyridis. BioControl 53: 169-188 Go to original source...