Oemona hirta (F.) is a New Zealand native longicorn beetle, whose larvae bore into the wood of branches and stems of living trees and vines, causing serious damage. To explore effective methods for maintaining laboratory colonies and biology of immature stages of this species we evaluated four laboratory rearing methods with both natural and artificial diets and compared biological parameters of laboratory colonies with those of field-collected insects. On an artificial diet, ≈40% of neonate and 70% of autumn- and 11% of winter-collected larvae reached adulthood. Neonate larvae could not complete their development in cut poplar (Populus nigra variety italica Koehne) twigs; however, when twigs were standing in water >46% of neonate larvae survived to adulthood. Mean larval development time ranged from ≈150 to almost 300 d, depending on rearing methods. Mean pupal stage ranged from 15 to 19 d. Adult females were significantly heavier than males. Although adult females from field-collected twigs and reared on the artificial diet had similar mean body weight, which was significantly greater than that of other rearing colonies, the potential fecundity was the highest in the former (83.1 ± 29.4 eggs) and the lowest in the latter (33.5 ± 9.1 eggs). In all laboratory-reared and field-collected insects, the total number of eggs produced (eggs laid eggs that remained in dead female body) by females was positively correlated with their body weight. When larvae fed on the artificial diet, there was no positive correlation between the number of eggs successfully laid and female body weight. However, when larvae lived on natural food, a positive correlation was found. In laboratory colonies, mean longevity of females (36 to 52 d) was slightly greater than that of males (30 to 50 d) without significant difference between sexes but in the adults from field-collected twigs, males (52 d) lived significantly longer than females (33 d). In terms of time, labor, and the number of resulting adults, collecting larvae in the field in autumn and then transferring them onto artificial diet is the most effective method for maintaining a laboratory colony.
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Vol. 95 • No. 3