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1 February 2012 Intraspecific Competition Effects on Aethina tumida (Coleoptera: Nitidulidae)
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Two kinds of experiments were conducted with Aethina tumida Murray larvae over four temperatures: “consumption” experiments, in which larvae and diet were weighed to determine food consumption rates under conditions of unlimited food and few conspecifics; and “competition” experiments, in which varying numbers of larvae were presented with the same amount of honey and pollen diet, and larval weight at final instar was used to determine competition effects. In consumption experiments temperature, diet and their interaction all had significant effects on the ratio of larval weight to the weight of food consumed, which was higher at 24°C than at any other temperature. In competition experiments, three relationships were examined and modeled: that between the number of larvae per experimental unit and the average weight of those larvae; that between average larval and adult weights; and that between average adult weight and survivorship to adult (emergence rate). An exponential decay function was fit to the relationship between number of larvae per experimental unit and their average weight. Average adult weight was linearly correlated with larval weight. Likewise, emergence rates for adults <11.6 mg in weight were linearly correlated with adult weights, but no significant relationship was observed for heavier adults. Using these relationships, the reproductive potential for A. tumida were estimated for a frame of honey and pollen. Information on resource acquisition by A. tumida will be useful in evaluating the impact of different factors on beetle population dynamics, such as bee hygienic behavior or control strategies used by the beekeeper.

William G. Meikle, Joseph M. Patt, and Diana Sammataro "Intraspecific Competition Effects on Aethina tumida (Coleoptera: Nitidulidae)," Journal of Economic Entomology 105(1), 26-33, (1 February 2012).
Received: 15 August 2011; Accepted: 1 October 2011; Published: 1 February 2012

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