Eat or be eaten: prevalence and impact of egg cannibalism on two-spot ladybirds, Adalia bipunctata

Roy, H.E.; Rudge, H.; Goldrick, L.; Hawkins, D.. 2007 Eat or be eaten: prevalence and impact of egg cannibalism on two-spot ladybirds, Adalia bipunctata. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata, 125. 33-38. 10.1111/j.1570-7458.2007.00592.x

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Ladybirds commonly engage in cannibalistic behaviour. Egg cannibalism by first instars is considered advantageous to the cannibal, because it not only results in direct metabolic gain but also a reduction in potential competitors. In this study, we quantified the effect of cannibalism on the development rate and survival of Adalia bipunctata (L.) (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) larvae through development to the adult stage. We also assessed the synchrony of egg-hatching in relation to laying order and compared the proportion of eggs cannibalized in egg batches laid as clusters or linearly. Larvae that had consumed a conspecific egg after hatching reached the adult stage 1.65 days earlier than those larvae that had not. Larval and pupal mortality was lower for cannibals compared to non-cannibals; only 46% of non-cannibalistic individuals reached the adult stage whereas 81% of cannibals pupated successfully. Egg cannibalism is undoubtedly advantageous to A. bipunctata larvae both in terms of faster development and increased survival. There is a positive correlation between laying and hatching order for eggs laid linearly or in a cluster. There was no significant difference in the proportion of eggs hatching in clusters or in a line (80 and 77%, respectively). The remaining eggs were either cannibalized or did not hatch. The ecological implications of these results are discussed with particular reference to trophic egg plasticity.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1111/j.1570-7458.2007.00592.x
Programmes: CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Biodiversity > BD01 Conservation and Restoration of Biodiversity
CEH Sections: Pywell
ISSN: 0013-8703
Additional Keywords: hatching order, development time, survival, Coleoptera Coccinellidae, trophic egg plasticity
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 29 Oct 2007 11:56

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