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1 November 2013 Testing Developmental Plasticity in Aquatic Larvae of Corethrella appendiculata (Diptera: Corethrellidae)
E. M. Blosser, N. Nishimura, L. P. Lounibos
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Insects with complex life cycles show a variety of developmental strategies when faced with low nutrient conditions requiring trade-offs in timing and nutrient storage. Previously documented strategies among insects include plasticity or canalization (fixation) of the pupation threshold, postthreshold developmental time, and adult size or stored resources. Using four models previously developed by Juliano et al. (2004), we tested the plasticity of these traits in the aquatic larvae of the frog-biting midge, Corethrella appendiculata Grabham. Rates of prey consumption and timing of pupation of fourth instar midges were compared across a range of prey densities. Model comparisons revealed that final instar C. appendiculata larvae exhibit a canalized pupation threshold followed by a canalized lengthy postthreshold period. Males entered the final instar earlier and reached a significantly lower threshold while females entered later and averaged more prey consumed daily, suggesting differing developmental strategies between sexes. Plasticity in body and egg clutch sizes of females from differing nutrient treatments was observed, but all females produced eggs autogenously. The canalized developmental pattern and long postthreshold period displayed in C. appendiculata is hypothesized to be related to the midge's preference for relatively permanent aquatic habitats.

© 2013 Entomological Society of America
E. M. Blosser, N. Nishimura, and L. P. Lounibos "Testing Developmental Plasticity in Aquatic Larvae of Corethrella appendiculata (Diptera: Corethrellidae)," Annals of the Entomological Society of America 106(6), 810-817, (1 November 2013).
Received: 14 May 2013; Accepted: 1 August 2013; Published: 1 November 2013

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Corethrella appendiculata
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