Diel behaviour and time budget of the adult pine weevil Hylobius abietis

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Abstract

The pine weevil [Hylobius abietis (L.); Coleoptera: Curculionidae] has a high economic impact on forest regeneration in Europe. The general biology of the pine weevil has received considerable attention, although there is insufficient knowledge about its diel behaviour and time budget. Therefore, in the present study, the feeding and locomotion behaviour of individual adult weevils on Norway spruce seedlings [Picea abies (L.) Karst.] is observed for 24-h periods in the laboratory. Both girdled and nongirdled seedlings are used to assess how the behaviour of weevils is influenced by the physiological response of plants to the girdling. The locomotion pattern shows a distinct maximum during the beginning of the dark phase, whereas most feeding occurs during the second half of the dark phase and the first hours of the subsequent light phase. The girdling treatment increases the time that weevils spend on the seedlings during the first part of an observation session, although it has no effect on their feeding pattern. The time budgets of weevils on girdled and nongirdled seedlings are similar. On average, weevils spend 34% of their time in locomotion and 6% on feeding. Females spend more time feeding than males (7.1% versus 4.2%), possibly because they have higher food requirements (e.g. for egg production). Females also spend more time in total on the seedlings than males (26.3% versus 7.0%). The present study reveals, in high temporal resolution, the diel feeding and locomotion behaviour and time budget of male and female pine weevils.

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