Eur. J. Entomol. 112 (4): 642-647, 2015 | DOI: 10.14411/eje.2015.081

Effect of photoperiod on adult size and weight in Harmonia axyridis (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae)

Sergey Ya. REZNIK, Margarita Yu. DOLGOVSKAYA, Andrey N. OVCHINNIKOV
Zoological Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, 199034 St. Petersburg, Russia; e-mails: reznik1952@mail.ru; bcongroup@gmail.com; anovchi@gmail.com

Short photoperiods often accelerate preimaginal development in insects that overwinter as adults and thus ensure the timely development of the diapausing stage. However, fast development usually results in small adults with few reserves whereas successful overwintering is dependent on sufficient reserves of nutrients. Thus, an insect faces two opposite challenges: increase adult weight or speed up pre-adult development. One solution to this "time-size trade-off" is fast development resulting in relatively light-weight but not too small adults, which are able to survive if there is an early onset to winter and have the possibility of further increasing their weight if conditions in autumn remain favourable for longer than usual. To test this hypothesis, we determined the effect of different photoperiods (day lengths of 12 and 18 h at 20°C) on the duration of preimaginal development, size of emerging adults and dynamics of adult weight in Harmonia axyridis. The larvae reared under short-day conditions tended to develop faster and invest resources in structural growth rather than in increasing weight: the daily rate of increase in size under a 12 h long photoperiod was greater than that under a 18 h long photoperiod, whereas the rate of gain in weight showed the opposite tendency. This resulted in a significant decrease in the weight /size ratio of emerging adults. However, their low initial nutritional status was partly compensated for by adult feeding: the relative gain in adult weight of "short-day individuals" was greater than that of the beetles that developed under long day conditions.

Keywords: Coleoptera, Coccinellidae, Harmonia axyridis, photoperiod, development, weight, size, maturation, diapause

Received: March 17, 2015; Accepted: June 22, 2015; Prepublished online: July 21, 2015; Published: November 21, 2015

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