Effect of diet on the fecundity of three carabid beetles


Pavel Saska, Crop Research Institute, Drnovská 507, Prague 6, Ruzyně 161 06, Czech Republic. Tel.: +420 2 330 22 332; fax: +420 2 333 11 592; e-mail: saska@vurv.cz


Abstract In the present study, the importance of diet in terms of fecundity is compared for three species of the carabid genus Amara (Coleoptera: Carabidae), using an insect diet, two types of seed diet (Capsella bursa-pastoris, Stellaria media) and a mixed diet. It is expected that the species of carabid studied have different food requirements for reproduction. Diet affects reproduction performance and egg production significantly. A mixed diet and both single-seed diets are suitable for reproduction in Amara aenea (DeGeer) because a higher proportion of the females reproduce and lay significantly more eggs than on a purely insect diet. Females of Amara familiaris (Duftschmid) do not reproduce unless provided with seeds of S. media. Seeds of C. bursa-pastoris or a mixed diet are equally suitable diets for reproduction of Amara similata (Gyllenhal); a diet of insects or seeds of S. media is unsuitable. The results support the hypothesis that the species under investigation have specific food requirements, suggesting that seed feeding has evolved to different degrees in particular species: A. aenea is omnivorous, whereas A. familiaris and A. similata specialize on the seed of a particular plant species or family. This resource partitioning facilitates co-occurrence of carabid species.