Eur. J. Entomol. 112 (1): 63-68, 2015 | 10.14411/eje.2015.017

Do egg parasitoids increase the tendency of Lestes sponsa (Odonata: Lestidae) to oviposit underwater?

Filip HARABIŠ1, Aleš DOLNÝ2,*, Jana HELEBRANDOVÁ2, Tereza RUSKOVÁ2
1 Department of Ecology, Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Kamýcká 129, CZ-165 21 Prague 6, Czech Republic; e-mail: harabis.f@gmail.com
2 Department of Biology and Ecology / Institute of Environmental Technologies, Faculty of Sciences, University of Ostrava, Chittussiho 10, CZ-710 00 Slezská Ostrava, Czech Republic; e-mails: ales.dolny@osu.cz; xaustrik@seznam.cz; P11104@student.osu.cz

The selection of oviposition sites by insects can significantly affect egg mortality. Spreadwing damselflies (Odonata: Lestidae) predominantly lay their eggs in parts of plants growing above the surface of water and only occasionally also those parts growing underwater. Factors affecting the choice of oviposition site and decision to lay underwater are still poorly understood. We examined whether localities with different risk of egg parasitism, different oviposition strategies (above or below the water surface) and the depth at which the eggs were laid, affected the total number of eggs laid, the proportion parasitized and egg mortality. In general, a significantly higher proportion of the eggs laid above the surface of water were parasitized but spreadwing damselflies showed significant preference for laying eggs underwater at both of the sites studied. This preference, however, had a different effect on the overall mortality of eggs at the two sites studied. Hence underwater oviposition by damselflies may be seen as a conditional anti-predator strategy, occurring only if the benefits exceed potential risks. Underwater oviposition may provide additional benefits other than protection against egg parasitism.

Keywords: Odonata, Lestidae, Lestes sponsa, submerged oviposition, egg parasitism, parasitoids, selection of oviposition site, dragonflies

Received: February 7, 2014; Accepted: October 6, 2014; Prepublished online: November 11, 2014; Published: January 25, 2015

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