Summer dormancy ensures univoltinism in the predatory bug Picromerus bidens

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Abstract

The seasonal cycle of Picromerus bidens L. (Heteroptera: Pentatomidae) is usually considered to be univoltine with an obligatory winter egg diapause. Seasonal adaptations of the species were studied in the laboratory and in field experiments. When reared under short-day photoperiodic conditions (L12:D12 and L14:D10), all females began to lay eggs synchronously soon after their emergence. However, in the females reared under long-day conditions (L18:D6 and L20:D4) and outdoors in June–July, oviposition was significantly delayed. This delay in reproduction induced by photoperiodic conditions and then spontaneously terminated was considered to be aestivation. Egg batches laid by females in the laboratory and in the field were kept at 25 °C for two months. From 30.8 to 93.8% of batches contained eggs which hatched without cold treatment between day 14 and 60 after oviposition. The proportion of eggs hatched was 17.7 to 20.9% in the short-day regimes, while it was significantly less (5.7 to 6.0%) under long-day conditions. It is concluded that in some eggs diapause is of low intensity and that if under natural conditions the first batches had been laid at the end of June, nymphs would have hatched at least from some eggs during the same season even without cold treatment. Such untimely hatching would have resulted in the death of nymphs and adults unprepared for overwintering. A photoperiodic response which induces aestivation in the early emerging adults in June–August may prevent early oviposition and occurrence of a second generation and thus maintains univoltinism in P. bidens.

Ancillary