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Revista Brasileira de Zoologia

Print version ISSN 0101-8175

Rev. Bras. Zool. vol.13 no.4 Curitiba  1996 

Size of and damage on shoots of Passiflora suberosa (Passifloraceae) influence oviposition site selection of Heliconius erato phyllis (Fabricius) (Lepidoptera, Nymphalidae)



Elna Mugrabi-OliveiraI; Gilson R.P. MoreiraII

IPós-graduação em Entomologia, Departamento de Zoologia, Universidade Federal do Paraná. Caixa Postal 19020, 81531-990 Curitiba, Paraná, Brasil
IICorrespondence to: Departamento de Zoologia, Instituto de Biociências, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul Avenida Paulo Gama 40 90046-900 Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brasil e-mail:




Oviposition site selection of Heliconius erato phyllis (Fabricius, 1775) (Lepidoptera, Nymphalidae) was studied when size of and damage on shoots were variable in a natural population of Passiflora suberosa Linnaeus (Passifloraceae), and through sequential and simultaneous choice experiments performed under insectary conditions. Females showed marked oviposition preference for undamaged and largest shoots of P. suberosa. Eggs were mostly laid on the terminal buds of intact shoots under natural conditions. In simultaneous choice trials, females preferred to oviposit on shoots from which leaves (ten) were removed but the terminal bud maintained to those where leaves were kept but the terminal bud was cut out. In sequential choice trials, they did not lay eggs on shoots from which the terminal bud was removed. Females preferred to oviposit on large to short intact shoots in both sequential and simultaneous choice trials. Females laid eggs preferentially on shoots with the greatest leaf area when most plants were intact in the field during early spring. Later in fall, when mostly large, old shoots were damaged or in a reproductive stage (less desirable for oviposition), oviposition intensity was highest on the shortest, youngest shoots of P. suberosa. Thus, females might rank these quality attributes higher than size while selecting shoots for oviposition. The consequences of ovipositing selectively on intact, large shoots of P. suberosa are discussed from the view point of H. erato phyllis larval performance.

Key words: Lepidoptera, Heliconius, Passiflora, oviposition behavior, host plant selection



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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS. Thanks are due to FEPAGRO for allowing us to carry out the study at Águas Belas Experimental Station. We are especially grateful to Aldo M. Araújo for encouraging and helping us to start with Heliconius-Passiflora studies. We also thank Miriam Becker for some advice on sampling techniques, and Feliciano Flores for the use of the leaf area meter. Comments by Catherine N. Duckett (University of Puerto Rico), Nicoleta T.N. Sabetzki (EPAGRI) and Aldo M. Araújo (UFRGS) improved earlier versions of the manuscript. Financial support for this study came from a CNPq Schoolarship (M.Sc. Thesis) granted to E. Mugrabi-Oliveira.



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Recebido em 17.VI.1996; aceito em 28.XII.1996.

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