Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Plasticity in oviposition site selection behavior in Drosophila suzukii (Diptera: Drosophilidae) in relation to adult density and host distribution and quality.

Abstract

Flexibility in oviposition site selection under temporally shifting environmental conditions is an important trait that allows many polyphagous insects to flourish. Population density has been shown to affect egg-laying and offspring fitness throughout the animal kingdom. The effects of population density in insects have been suggested to be mutualistic at low densities, whereas intraspecific competition is exhibited at high densities. Here, we explore the effects of adult crowding and spatial resource variation on oviposition rate in the invasive pest Drosophila suzukii (Matsumura). In a series of laboratory experiments, we varied the density of adult males and females while holding oviposition substrate availability constant and measured per female oviposition rate using high and low-quality substrates. We found that oviposition behavior was affected more by substrate than adult density, though both variables had significant effects. When we varied the spatial arrangement of whole raspberries, we observed differences in oviposition rate and egg distribution between the grouped and solitary female treatments. Our results suggest that social interactions encourage oviposition, especially when exposed to unfamiliar or unnatural substrates. These results highlight the compensating effect of increased oviposition rate per female as adult populations decline. They will help researchers and crop managers better understand in-field population dynamics throughout the season as population densities change.