Possible Age-Dependent Variation in Egg-Loaded Host Selectivity of the Pierid Butterfly, Anthocharis scolymus (Lepidoptera: Pieridae): A Field Observation


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Abstract

To understand better the effects of age on host selection through conspecific egg detection by Anthocharis scolymus females, field observations were performed at a graveyard where the insect population was isolated and the host plant was limited to the cruciferous plant, Turritis glabra. We chased females and recorded their oviposition behaviors and the conditions of plants which females approached. Older females tended to avoid ovipositing on egg-loaded host plants and selectively laid eggs on nonloaded host plants. This result was not confounded by other factors such as seasonality, air temperature, plant height, plant phenological stage, surrounding vegetation, host plant density, and extent of plant damage. We discuss the possibility that females make an oviposition decision on how to lay their limited number of eggs during their remaining lifetime.

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