Induction and termination of reproductive diapause in a neotropical beetle, Chelymorpha alternans (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae)



The presence of a reproductive diapause in the life cycle of the neotropical cassidine beetle, Chelymorpha alternans, was investigated by exposing groups of beetles to conditions differing in photoperiod and humidity. Diapause was characterized by the absence of egg-laying in females up to 70 days after emergence and was induced in response to a short photoperiod of 12:12 h L: D but averted under a longer photoperiod of 13:11 h L:D. High (>90% RH) and low (55–75% RH) humidity conditions did not influence diapause induction. Males appeared to court and attempt to mate with females under all conditions between 16 and 30 days after emergence, but declined after this time in short photoperiods and it is not known if matings in these groups were successful. Adults induced to diapause by exposure to a 12:12 h L:D photoperiod and subsequently exposed to a 13:11 h L: D photoperiod 70 or 72 days after emergence did not show a rapid response by commencing egg-laying. However, all diapausing groups in long and short photoperiod and high and low humidity, in both experiments performed, had commenced egg-laying after 128 days, suggesting an endogenous rhythm for diapause termination. Long photoperiod and high humidity combined may hasten diapause termination since egg-laying began after only 95 days in this group in experiment two. This strategy of induction and termination is discussed with reference to the seasonality of the natural environment of C. alternans in Panama.