Next Article in Journal
Her Majesty’s Desert Throne: The Ecology of Queen Butterfly Oviposition on Mojave Milkweed Host Plants
Previous Article in Journal
Stable Isotope Enrichment (Δ15N) in the Predatory Flower Bug (Orius majusculus) Predicts Fitness-Related Differences between Diets
Open AccessArticle

Mazes to Study the Effects of Spatial Complexity, Predation and Population Density on Mate Finding

1
The New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research Limited, Christchurch PB 4704, New Zealand
2
Better Border Biosecurity (B3), Lincoln 7608, New Zealand
3
Centre for Biodiversity and Biosecurity, School of Biological Sciences, University of Auckland, PB 92019, Auckland 1142, New Zealand
4
Centro de Desarrollo de Productos Bióticos, Instituto Politécnico Nacional, Yautepec 62731, Mexico
5
AgResearch, PB 3123 Hamilton 3240, New Zealand
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Insects 2020, 11(4), 256; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11040256
Received: 28 February 2020 / Revised: 8 April 2020 / Accepted: 15 April 2020 / Published: 20 April 2020
The difficulty to locate mates and overcome predation can hamper species establishment and population maintenance. The effects of sparseness between individuals or the effect of predators on the probability of population growth can be difficult to measure experimentally. For testing hypotheses about population density and predation, we contend that habitat complexity can be simulated using insect mazes of varying mathematical difficulty. To demonstrate the concept, we investigated whether the use of 3D printed mazes of varying complexity could be used to increase spatial separation between sexes of Drosophila simulans, and whether the presence of a generalist predator hampered mate-finding. We then examined how increasing D. simulans population density might overcome the artificially created effects of increasing the distance between mates and having a predator present. As expected, there was an increase in time taken to find a mate and a lower incidence of mating as habitat complexity increased. Increasing the density of flies reduced the searching time and increased mating success, and overcame the effect of the predator in the maze. Printable 3D mazes offer the opportunity to quickly assess the effects of spatial separation on insect population growth in the laboratory, without the need for large enclosed spaces. Mazes could be scaled up for larger insects and can be used for other applications such as learning. View Full-Text
Keywords: Allee effects; Chelifer cancroides; Drosophila; maze; population dynamics; spatial; 3D Allee effects; Chelifer cancroides; Drosophila; maze; population dynamics; spatial; 3D
Show Figures

Figure 1

  • Externally hosted supplementary file 1
    Link: https://youtu.be/BEaRsO0h2v0
    Description: A video of the experimental setup comprising both prey and the predator actively navigating the 3D-printed maze.
MDPI and ACS Style

Stringer, L.D.; Sullivan, N.J.; White, R.; Jiménez-Pérez, A.; Furlong, J.; Kean, J.M.; Beggs, J.R.; Suckling, D.M. Mazes to Study the Effects of Spatial Complexity, Predation and Population Density on Mate Finding. Insects 2020, 11, 256.

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.

Article Access Map by Country/Region

1
Search more from Scilit
 
Search
Back to TopTop