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Insects 2019, 10(1), 26; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects10010026

Different Oviposition Strategies of Closely Related Damselfly Species as an Effective Defense against Parasitoids

1
Department of Ecology, Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Kamýcká 129, CZ-165 00 Praha–Suchdol, Czech Republic
2
Department of Biology and Ecology, Faculty of Science, University of Ostrava, Chittussiho 10, CZ-710 00 Slezská Ostrava, Czech Republic
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 4 December 2018 / Revised: 21 December 2018 / Accepted: 7 January 2019 / Published: 10 January 2019
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Abstract

Parasitoidism is one of the main causes of insect egg mortality. Parasitoids are often able to detect eggs using semiochemicals released from eggs and disturbed plants. In response, female insects adopt a wide variety of oviposition strategies to reduce the detectability of eggs and subsequent mortality. We evaluated the proportion of parasitized and undeveloped eggs of three common damselfly species from the family Lestidae, the most diverse group of European damselflies, in terms of oviposition strategies, notably clutch patterning and the ability to utilize oviposition substrates with different mechanical properties. We assumed that higher costs associated with some oviposition strategies will be balanced by lower egg mortality. We found that the ability of Chalcolestes viridis to oviposit into very stiff substrates brings benefit in the form of a significantly lower rate of parasitoidism and lower proportion of undeveloped eggs. The fundamentally different phenology of Sympecma fusca and/or their ability to utilize dead plants as oviposition substrate resulted in eggs that were completely free of parasitoids. Our results indicated that ovipositing into substrates that are unsuitable for most damselfly species significantly reduces egg mortality. Notably, none of these oviposition strategies would work unless combined with other adaptations, such as prolonging the duration of the prolarval life stage or the ability to oviposit into stiff tissue. View Full-Text
Keywords: oviposition strategy; cost of reproduction; egg mortality; trade-off; Odonata; damselfly life history; egg parasitoid oviposition strategy; cost of reproduction; egg mortality; trade-off; Odonata; damselfly life history; egg parasitoid
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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).

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Harabiš, F.; Rusková, T.; Dolný, A. Different Oviposition Strategies of Closely Related Damselfly Species as an Effective Defense against Parasitoids. Insects 2019, 10, 26.

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