Avoidance of egg parasitism through submerged oviposition by tandem pairs in the water strider, Aquarius paludum insularis (Heteroptera: Gerridae)


Eiiti Kasuya, Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, Kyushu University, 6-10-1, Hakozaki, Fukuoka 812-8581, Japan. E-mail: ekasuscb@mbox.nc.kyushu-u.ac.jp


Abstract 1. Females of the water strider Aquarius paludum insularis (Motschulsky) (Heteroptera: Gerridae) carry males on their backs and oviposit under water after copulation. This study focuses on the benefit A. paludum insularis receives by ovipositing in tandem.

2. Males guarded females in tandem through to the end of oviposition in 85% of copulations. Females in tandem dived deeper than single females, and the density of A. paludum insularis eggs increased with water depth. The proportion of eggs parasitized by a scelionid wasp, Tiphodytes gerriphagus Marchal (Hymenoptera: Scelionidae) decreased with increasing water depth.

3. These results suggest that during oviposition guarding by males is beneficial for females, because it enables pairs to dive and lay eggs deeper and in oviposition sites where the risk of egg parasitism is lower.