Faculté des sciences

Reproductive biology of viviparous and oviparous species of the leaf beetle genus Oreina

Dobler, Susanne ; Rowell-Rahier, Martine

In: Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata, 1996, vol. 80, no. 2, p. 375-388

In five species of the genus Oreina Chevrolat (Coleoptera, Chrysomelidae) we compared the size of offspring, the fecundity of the females, the timing of offspring production and female investment over the season. Two of the species, O. elongata and O. luctuosa, laid eggs, while O. cacaliae, O. gloriosa and O. variabilis gave birth to larvae. Offspring... Plus

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    Summary
    In five species of the genus Oreina Chevrolat (Coleoptera, Chrysomelidae) we compared the size of offspring, the fecundity of the females, the timing of offspring production and female investment over the season. Two of the species, O. elongata and O. luctuosa, laid eggs, while O. cacaliae, O. gloriosa and O. variabilis gave birth to larvae. Offspring size corrected for female size was similar in the two oviparous species and in the viviparous O. cacaliae. In the two other viviparous species the larvae were two to three times bigger in relation to the female. The greater size of the offspring was not traded off for lower fecundity in these latter two species, yet the production of bigger larvae was associated with a longer laying period and thereby a spreading of reproductive investment over the season. The prediction of life history theory that higher investment in individual offspring should be traded off for lower fecundity could not be confirmed. The investigation of egg and larval development showed that in one of the oviparous species, O. luctuosa, the length of the egg stage was more variable. This corroborates the view that in this species the eggs can be retained for varying times before being laid. Greater size at birth does not necessarily lead to shortened developmental times: the larval periods of O. cacaliae, O. elongata, O. gloriosa and O. variabilis were all comparable although the larvae of the first two species were relatively smaller when laid; only the small larvae of O. luctuosa needed significantly longer for their development. For all growth parameters examined the differences between species were larger than the differences between populations. A comparison of larval growth of the oligophagous species O. cacaliae on three plant genera showed that larval growth rate is influenced by the food plant. However, the plant on which the larvae grew worst is apparently not chosen for oviposition in the field. A comparison with a phylogeny of the species based on allozymes suggests that species with similar reproductive parameters are closely related, yet that viviparity evolved independently in O. cacaliae on one hand and O. variabilis and O. gloriosa on the other.