Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata (1996) 81, 293-299

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T.D. Fitzgerald and C.R. Visscher (1996)
Foraging behavior and growth of isolated larvae of a social caterpillar, Malacosoma americanum
Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 81 (3), 293-299
Abstract: In laboratory experiments, isolated eastern tent caterpillars, Malacosoma americanum (Fabricius) (Lepidoptera: Lasiocampidae), grew more slowly than their grouped siblings even though factors previously reported to give grouped caterpillars an advantage were eliminated from our experimental design. Analysis of time-lapse videorecordings of daily foraging bouts showed that, despite their slower growth, isolated individuals fed significantly more often than their grouped siblings. This finding is consistent with previous observations showing that the rate at which tent caterpillars assimilate food is largely independent of foraging frequency and suggests that increased metabolic costs associated with superfluous activity may cause isolated caterpillars to grow slower. More rapid growth of grouped caterpillars also appears attributable to the significantly longer periods of time solitary caterpillars spent inactive during episodes of molting. Our study shows that the distinctive temporal pattern of foraging characteristic of intact colonies of eastern tent caterpillars is a emergent property of the group.
(The abstract is excluded from the Creative Commons licence and has been copied with permission by the publisher.)
Link to article at publishers website
Database assignments for author(s): Terrence D. Fitzgerald

Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
general biology - morphology - evolution

Pest and/or beneficial records:

Beneficial Pest/Disease/Weed Crop/Product Country Quarant.

Malacosoma americanum