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Neotropical Entomology

Print version ISSN 1519-566XOn-line version ISSN 1678-8052


SANTOS, Adão V.  and  ALBUQUERQUE, Gilberto S.. Ecophysiological costs of maternal care in Antiteuchus sepulcralis (Fabricius) (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae). Neotrop. Entomol. [online]. 2001, vol.30, n.1, pp.105-111. ISSN 1519-566X.

The study of the life-history traits related to maternal care in Antiteuchus sepulcralis (Fabricius) was carried out with 28 females and their egg masses on the host plant Hibiscus pernambucensis Arruda (Malvaceae). Each egg mass and its respective mother were placed in separate sleeve cages and checked daily for development and mortality from September/97 to May/98 (average temperature = 27.7°C). In a se+cond experiment, the mother's strategy for defending its egg mass against the egg parasitoid Phanuropsis semiflaviventris Girault (Hymenoptera: Scelionidae) was observed in an acrylic box. The duration of the egg stage was 6.2 days, whereas the five nymphal instars lasted 6.8, 19.0, 19.5, 22.5, and 22.7 days, respectively. Thus, the average period from egg to adult was 96.7 days. On average, the maternal-care period lasted 21.6 days, from oviposition until the first days of the second instar. The fecundity of A. sepulcralis corresponded to 28.0 eggs for females reared in the greenhouse and 27.6 eggs for females collected in the field; only one egg mass is oviposited in their life. Females used their body, antenna, and legs to keep parasitoids away from the eggs; there was no evidence of chemical defense. The efficiency of the protective behavior was inversely related to the number of parasitoids present. The relatively long developmental time and reduced fecundity, allied with the fact that females do not feed during the long protection period and are probably more exposed to natural enemies, represent significant ecophysiological costs associated with the evolution of maternal care in A. sepulcralis.

Keywords : Insecta; development; fecundity; natural enemies; subsocial behavior.

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