Eur. J. Entomol. 106 (4): 551-555, 2009 | DOI: 10.14411/eje.2009.069

Correlated traits for dispersal pattern: Terrestrial movement of the water cricket Velia caprai (Heteroptera: Gerromorpha: Veliidae)

Tomáš DITRICH1,2, Miroslav PAPÁČEK1
1 Department of Biology, Pedagogical Faculty, University of South Bohemia, Jeronýmova 10, 371 15 České Budějovice, Czech Republic; e-mail: ditom@pf.jcu.cz
2 Department of Ecosystem Biology, Faculty of Science, University of South Bohemia, Branišovská 31, 370 05 České Budějovice, Czech Republic

Macropterous individuals of wing polymorphic semiaquatic bugs (Heteroptera: Gerromorpha) usually occur at a high frequency if there is a need to leave an unfavorable habitat or in a generation migrating to/from an overwintering site. Velia caprai (Veliidae) is usually found in unpredictable habitats, but the macropterous morph is rare. Laboratory, mesocosm and field experiments were used to test the hypothesis that individuals of this species migrate by walking rather than by flight. Laboratory experiments that focused on the development of macropterous morph under conditions that usually stimulate the development of this morph in water striders were unsuccessful. A high temperature shortened the duration of nymphal development, but no winged specimens of Velia caprai developed in the laboratory when reared under either high or low temperatures, long or short photoperiods or on the surface of water or wet filter paper. Mesocosm experiments with apterous adults revealed they are able to walk on land. Both the males and females dispersed by walking in semi-natural conditions. Long-term field experiments using mark and recapture confirmed that this species can disperse by walking. Apterous individuals can compensate for downstream drift by upstream terrestrial migration and colonize newly established pools and ditches even several tens of meters from source sites. The development of a macropterous morph in response to environmental factors is replaced by terrestrial dispersal in V. caprai.

Keywords: Wing dimorphism, development rate, longevity, terrestrial dispersal, upstream dispersal, Velia caprai, Gerromorpha

Received: February 25, 2009; Accepted: May 15, 2009; Published: November 20, 2009

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