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Keywords:

  • Life history;
  • host plant;
  • oviposition behaviour;
  • Microtylopteryx hebardi;
  • Acrididae;
  • Orthoptera

Abstract. 1. The tropical forest grasshopper Microtylopteryx hebardi Rehn (Orthoptera, Acrididae, Ommatolampinae) oviposits inside leaves or stems of its host plants. This is the first known instance of oviposition inside living plant tissue (rather than in the ground, on top of leaves, or in detritus) for a tropical forest acridid.

2. In understorey secondary forest at La Selva, Costa Rica, M.hebardi females fed on fifteen species of host plants, but oviposited in only four of these.

3. In laboratory choice tests, females showed selectivity for oviposition host plants similar to that inferred from field observations.

4. Plant volume was a better predictor of the number of eggs laid per stem than variables that indicated leaf or stem characteristics of individual plants.

5. Unlike the ovipositor of acridids laying eggs in the ground, that of M.hebardi is equipped with toothed, sclerotized edges, probably used to bore into plant tissue.

6. Endophytic oviposition in M.hebardi may be related to finding host plants in a habitat that is complex, heterogeneous, and rich in plant species.