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Field oviposition rates and egg load dynamics of pollen beetles (Meligethes aeneus Fab.) (Colepotera: Nitidulidae)

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1 Egg loads from field collected pollen beetles (Meligethes aeneus Fab., Coleoptera: Nitidulidae) were determined by dissecting beetles caught at the beginning and end of the putative daily oviposition period. Field collected beetles were offered Brassica napus (L.) plants in cages for 8 (morning and early afternoon), 16 (overnight), and 24 h to ascertain the number of eggs laid during these time periods.

2 Most eggs were laid in the morning and early afternoon. The proportion of gravid females was higher at the beginning of the oviposition period than at the end. Most females in the morning carried two eggs, whereas one egg was more common in the afternoon.

3 We hypothesized that the number of eggs laid during the oviposition period would be equivalent to the difference between egg loads at the beginning and end of oviposition. This was not the case; differences in egg loads were significantly lower than number of eggs laid. However, the number of eggs laid was equivalent to the egg load at the beginning of the oviposition period, suggesting that eggs available in the morning are laid during the following day.

4 Population estimates of daily oviposition rates, approximately 0.7 eggs per beetle and day, were close to estimates from laboratory studies when the proportion of gravid females was taken into consideration.

Keywords: daily oviposition rates; egg load; egg maturation; gravid females; sex ratio

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Entomology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Box 7044, S-750 07 Uppsala, Sweden

Publication date: August 1, 2003

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