Adult cannibalism in the Colorado potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata)

Monday, November 17, 2014: 9:36 AM
D137-138 (Oregon Convention Center)
Everett Booth , School of Biology and Ecology, University of Maine, Orono, ME
Andrei Alyokhin , School of Biology and Ecology, University of Maine, Orono, ME
Due to its rapid development, high reproductive rate, and adaptability, the Colorado potato beetle has persisted as one of the most destructive insect defoliators of cultivated solanceous plants whenever present. While it is most well-known for its voracious herbivory, newly hatched Colorado potato beetle larvae are known to be often cannibalistic, consuming nearby sibling eggs upon emergence. Larval cannibalism has been shown to be beneficial by both reducing competition and providing a nutritional benefit. In this study, we investigated cannibalistic behavior at the adult stage. By manipulating factors such as food availability, crowding, wounding, structural refugia, and prior cannibalistic experience, we explored some of the factors that promote this behavior. Understanding what causes this shift from herbivory to predation could lead to a better understanding of the mechanisms regulating the abundance of this species, and may have implications for the long term goal of developing sustainable management techniques.