Do pollen beetles need pollen? The effect of pollen on oviposition, survival and development of a flower-feeding herbivore

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Cook, S. M., Murray, D. A. and Williams, I. H. 2004. Do pollen beetles need pollen? The effect of pollen on oviposition, survival and development of a flower-feeding herbivore. Ecological Entomology. 29 (2), pp. 164-173.

AuthorsCook, S. M., Murray, D. A. and Williams, I. H.
Abstract

1. Pollen is considered to be an important dietary component for many species of flower-feeding herbivores. Its influence on oviposition site selection by the pollen beetle Meligethes aeneus, and on the development of its larvae was investigated. 2. The effects of pollen presence and absence on adult, egg, and larval incidence in the field, and on larval development in the laboratory were compared through the use of Synergy, a composite hybrid oilseed rape Brassica napus variety comprising male-fertile (with pollen) and male-sterile (without pollen) plants. 3. In the field, adult females were more abundant on male-fertile plants during flowering, and a greater proportion of male-fertile than male-sterile buds were accepted for oviposition. These data indicate a possible role of pollen in oviposition site selection by female pollen beetles. 4. The numbers of first instar larvae on the two plant lines did not differ; however, more second instars were found on male-fertile than on male-sterile flowers. This suggests a greater larval survival on male-fertile plants, possibly due to the more readily available food resources and better nutrition afforded by the presence of pollen. 5. Laboratory experiments confirmed that a diet which included pollen improved survival to adulthood and resulted in heavier pupae and adults; however, pollen was not obligatory for larval survival and development. 6. The pollen beetle, previously thought to be an obligate pollen feeder, is therefore more generalist in its requirements for development. These findings may relate to the nutritional and behavioural ecology of other flower-feeding herbivores.

KeywordsEntomology
Year of Publication2004
JournalEcological Entomology
Journal citation29 (2), pp. 164-173
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1111/j.0307-6946.2004.00589.x
Open accessPublished as non-open access
Funder project or code436
445
509
513
ISSN03076946
PublisherWiley

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