Eur. J. Entomol. 105 (3): 437-443, 2008 | 10.14411/eje.2008.056

Effects of larval diet on female reproductive output of the European coccinellid Adalia bipunctata and the invasive species Harmonia axyridis (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae)

Remy L. WARE1, Benjamin YGUEL2, Michael E.N. MAJERUS1
1 Department of Genetics, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EH, UK; e-mail: r.ware@gen.cam.ac.uk, m.majerus@gen.cam.ac.uk
2 Laboratoire d'Agro-écologie de l'ENFA, UMR 5174, Evolution et Diversité biologique, BP 22687, F-31326 Castanet-Tolosan Cedex, France; e-mail: benyguel@hotmail.fr

Cannibalism and intraguild predation (IGP) are both common phenomena amongst aphidophagous coccinellids and serve as vital alternative feeding strategies which can prolong survival during periods of aphid scarcity. A reduction in essential prey density and the acceptance of conspecific or heterospecific prey are likely to have a considerable influence on both larval development and adult reproduction. However, little is known about the legacy of larval diet on adult performance. This paper considers the effects of the diet provided to larvae of Harmonia axyridis (Pallas) and Adalia bipunctata (Linnaeus) (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) on the reproductive output of the resulting females. Results showed that larval diets, including treatments analogous to competition and IGP, did not affect adult longevity, ovipositional lag, proportion of eggs laid in clutches or ovariole number in H. axyridis or A. bipunctata. However, some variation in the maximum clutch size and oviposition rate was seen. A larval diet of unlimited aphids resulted in the largest clutches of eggs being laid by both species. The total number of eggs laid over 30 days was largest for H. axyridis when larvae were reared on unlimited aphids or limited aphids supplemented with either conspecific or heterospecific eggs, whereas oviposition was lower for A. bipunctata females that had received conspecific or heterospecific eggs in their larval diets. The results have also enabled us to make some general comparisons of reproductive parameters between the two species, and to refute the hypothesis that the maximum clutch size laid by a female ladybird is limited by the number of ovarioles within an ovary. We conclude that IGP of A. bipunctata eggs by H. axyridis larvae has a positive effect on reproductive output and is therefore likely to further contribute to the spread and increase of H. axyridis in Britain.

Keywords: Adalia bipunctata, aphidophagous guilds, cannibalism, Coccinellidae, Harmonia axyridis, intraguild predation, invasive species, larval diet, oviposition, ovariole number, reproductive fitness, resource competition

Received: October 9, 2007; Accepted: December 20, 2007; Published: July 31, 2008

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