Eur. J. Entomol. 105 (3): 445-454, 2008 | 10.14411/eje.2008.057

Sympatric coexistence of sibling species Harmonia yedoensis and H. axyridis (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) and the roles of maternal investment through egg and sibling cannibalism

Naoya OSAWA1, Kazunori OHASHI*,2
1 Laboratory of Forest Ecology, Graduate School of Agriculture, Kyoto University, Kyoto 606-8502, Japan ; e-mail: osawa@kais.kyoto-u.ac.jp
2 Laboratory of Ecological Information, Graduate School of Agriculture, Kyoto University, Kyoto 606-8502, Japan

The sibling species H. yedoensis Takizawa coexists sympatrically and simultaneously with H. axyridis only on pine trees in Japan. To elucidate the mechanisms enabling coexistence of these two sympatric sibling species, a laboratory experiment was performed that focused on differences in their maternal investment through eggs and the role of sibling cannibalism. The egg size (volume) of H. yedoensis was 24.91% larger than that of H. axyridis. Cluster size in H. axyridis was significantly larger than that in H. yedoensis; however, the total number of eggs and oviposition cost (by volume) per female in H. yedoensis were not significantly different from those in H. axyridis, although total number of clusters tended to be slightly higher in H. yedoensis than in H. axyridis. The percentage of undeveloped eggs per cluster in H. yedoensis was not significantly different from that in H. axyridis, whereas the percentage of developed eggs with delayed hatching per cluster was significantly larger in H. yedoensis than in H. axyridis. Moreover, the cost of sibling cannibalism per hatched larval cluster in H. yedoensis (worth 4.43 sibling eggs) was 3.36 times larger than that in H. axyridis.Therefore, maternal investment through egg and sibling cannibalism in developed eggs with delayed hatching are more intense in H. yedoensis than in H. axyridis, implying a higher larval survival rate through higher ability of prey capturing at the first instar. The results in this study suggest that the higher survival rate and accelerated development in H. yedoensis by the two maternal investments, i.e., a large egg and intense sibling cannibalism of developed eggs with delayed hatching, may play an important role in sympatric coexistence with the aggressive aphidophagous ladybird beetle H. axyridis.

Keywords: Coccinellidae, coexistence, Harmonia axyridis, Harmonia yedoensis, sibling cannibalism, sibling species

Received: September 18, 2007; Accepted: December 12, 2007; Published: July 31, 2008

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