Environmental Entomology (1996) 25, 213-226

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William E. Miller (1996)
Population behavior and adult feeding capability in Lepidoptera
Environmental Entomology 25 (2), 213-226
Abstract: Population behavior in Lepidoptera is increasingly being shown to correlate with life-system or intrinsic factors. Two examples of such factors are larval gregariousness (and associated egg clustering) and overwintering stage (and associated larval feeding phenology). Adult feeding capability, also an intrinsic factor, has received scant attention in Lepidoptera population studies. It varies from species that are incapable of feeding to species that feed daily or hourly. Because adult feeding capability determines reproductive duration, it could affect vulnerability to mortality agents during a critical period and thereby influence population behavior. Using comparative methodology, I tested whether long-term population density and variability are related to adult feeding capability. Test data were published density records for >200 species in 16 families during 10-60 yr in Canada, the United Kingdom, and Germany, with species assigned to low, medium, and high classes of adult feeding capability. Mean logarithmic population densities, as well as standard deviations, were inversely related to degree of adult feeding capability. I also indirectly explored history of phenotypic variation through evolutionary time in the 3 intrinsic factors. Results suggested that adult feeding capability diverged earlier and was evolutionarily tracked by larval gregariousness and overwintering stage. Among 29 phylogenetically independent lineages of outbreak Lepidoptera, there was a significant association with low adult feeding capability. Study results lead to the conclusion that adult feeding capability is a primary intrinsic factor that influences population behavior more than has hitherto been recognized.
(The abstract is excluded from the Creative Commons licence and has been copied with permission by the publisher.)


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


Pest and/or beneficial records:

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


Mamestra brassicae
Lymantria dispar
Panolis flammea
Malacosoma disstria
Lacanobia oleracea
Orgyia pseudotsugata
Euxoa nigricans United Kingdom
Gortyna flavago United Kingdom
Operophtera brumata United Kingdom
Hepialus lupulinus United Kingdom
Hyphantria cunea
Epirrita autumnata
Bupalus piniarius
Cerapteryx graminis United Kingdom
Operophtera fagata United Kingdom
Tortrix viridana
Agriopis leucophaearia
Agriopis aurantiaria United Kingdom
Erannis defoliaria United Kingdom
Euproctis chrysorrhoea United Kingdom
Operophtera bruceata
Agrotis exclamationis United Kingdom
Dendrolimus pini
Alsophila pometaria Canada (west)
Zeiraphera isertana
Cosmia trapezina
Erannis tiliaria
Heterocampa guttivitta
Paleacrita vernata
Hydraecia micacea United Kingdom
Ennomos subsignarius
Nacophora mexicanaria
Nepytia freemani