Next Article in Journal
Potential Hybridization between Two Invasive Termite Species, Coptotermes formosanus and C. gestroi (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae), and Its Biological and Economic Implications
Previous Article in Journal
Microbiological Load of Edible Insects Found in Belgium
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Insects 2017, 8(1), 13; doi:10.3390/insects8010013

Seasonal Effects on the Population, Morphology and Reproductive Behavior of Narnia femorata (Hemiptera: Coreidae)

Entomology & Nematology Department, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Brian T. Forschler
Received: 1 November 2016 / Revised: 21 December 2016 / Accepted: 4 January 2017 / Published: 17 January 2017
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [5167 KB, uploaded 17 January 2017]   |  


Many insects are influenced by the phenology of their host plants. In North Central Florida, Narnia femorata (Hemiptera: Coreidae) spends its entire life cycle living and feeding on Opuntia mesacantha ssp. lata. This cactus begins producing flower buds in April that lead to unripe green fruit in June that ripen into red fruit through December. Many morphological and behavioral characteristics of N. femorata are known to be affected by cactus phenology in a controlled laboratory setting, including the degree of sexual dimorphism and mating behavior. Our goal with this study was to determine if similar phenotypic changes of N. femorata occurred over time in the wild, and the extent to which these changes were concordant with phenological changes in its host plant. Further, we investigate the length of the insect mouthparts (beak) over time. Ongoing work has suggested that beak length may change across cohorts of developing insects in response to feeding deep within cactus fruit where seed and pulp depth decrease as the fruit ripens. Our results revealed a drop in cactus fruit abundance between the months of July through October 2015 as cactus fruits turned red and ripened. Simultaneously, the average body size of both males and females of N. femorata declined at two sampled sites. Male hind femora (a sexually-selected weapon) decreased disproportionately in size over time so that males later in the year had relatively smaller hind femora for their body size. The sex-specific patterns of morphological change led to increased sexual-size dimorphism and decreased sexual dimorphism for hind femora later in the year. Further, we found that beak length decreased across cohorts of insects as cactus fruit ripened, suggesting phenotypic plasticity in mouthpart length. Behavioral studies revealed that female readiness to mate increased as the season progressed. In sum, we found pronounced changes in the phenotypes of these insects in the field. Although this study is far from comprehensive, it provides tantalizing patterns that suggest many directions for future research. View Full-Text
Keywords: plant-insect interactions; coreids; sexual selection; male-male competition; sexual dimorphism index plant-insect interactions; coreids; sexual selection; male-male competition; sexual dimorphism index

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

Scifeed alert for new publications

Never miss any articles matching your research from any publisher
  • Get alerts for new papers matching your research
  • Find out the new papers from selected authors
  • Updated daily for 49'000+ journals and 6000+ publishers
  • Define your Scifeed now

SciFeed Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Cirino, L.A.; Miller, C.W. Seasonal Effects on the Population, Morphology and Reproductive Behavior of Narnia femorata (Hemiptera: Coreidae). Insects 2017, 8, 13.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Insects EISSN 2075-4450 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top