0873 The type and timing of social information alters offspring production in the cactus bug, Chelinidea vittiger (Hemiptera: Coreidae)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008: 2:47 PM
Room A9, First Floor (Reno-Sparks Convention Center)
Christine W. Miller , Entomology and Nematology Department, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Robert J. Fletcher , Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
The acquisition and use of information is essential for decision-making in an uncertain world. The use of social information, or information from the behavior of others, may be a common and efficient mechanism to improve estimates of resource quality by animals. According to theory, social information cues with higher information content should have a greater influence on decision-making, and current information should be weighed more than prior information. However, experimental tests of these hypotheses remain scarce. We exposed female cactus bugs (Chelinidea vittiger) to different types of social information (the presence of conspecific eggs or nymphs) presented at different times (current or prior to egg laying) to determine the influence of social information on offspring production. We found that the presence of conspecific eggs or nymphs increased egg production by females. In particular, the presence of eggs, regardless of when they were presented, consistently increased egg production, whereas nymphs only increased egg production when presented during egg-laying. We conclude that the type and timing of social information may be an important, yet unappreciated, influence on reproductive allocation.

doi: 10.1603/ICE.2016.36946