A field-based experimental study examined the roles of temperature and moisture in the dry-season embryonic dormancy and postdormancy hatching of the spittlebug Deois flavopicta Stål from Brazil’s dry interior region. The results show that dormancy consists of two discrete parts: an initial period of diapause that persists from April to the beginning of July, followed by a period of postdiapause quiescence that prevails until the rainy season begins (usually October). Low temperatures during the early part of the diapause period accelerates diapause development, whereas contact with liquid water determines the timing of postdiapause hatching. Soil temperatures during June and July and the relative humidity of the soil during August and September strongly affect overwintering survival and thus are important in determining the size of the nymphal population after dormancy. The findings indicate that, like hibernation and aestivation in temperate-zone insects, dry-season dormancy in tropical insects is a dynamic state that is influenced by seasonal changes in key environmental factors.
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