Journal of Plant Interactions | VOL. 12

Food, shelter or competitors? Overlapping of life stages and host plant selection in a Neotropical stink bug species

Publication Date Jan 1, 2017


ABSTRACTPhytophagous insects may choose host plants based on conditions that enhance offspring performance. However, some insect species may also select plants based on attributes that enhance their own performance regardless of the consequences for offspring survival. An approach evaluating both hypotheses could provide a more comprehensive understanding of the host plant selection by phytophagous insects. In this study, we described the life stages of a Neotropical stink bug, Edessa contermina, co-occurring on Byrsonima verbascifolia plants in a conservation area of the Brazilian Savannah. We also empirically evaluated how food supply, shelter availability and competitors’ density on the host plants affected the densities of nymphs, adults and mating pairs. We identified and described five life stages of E. contermina. The amount of plant resources did not explain the nymph, adult and mating pairs’ density. However, adults and mating pairs chose plants with a low density of nymphs, probably because egg laying on the host plants with a high density of competitors may negatively affect offspring performance.


Mating Pairs Neotropical Stink Bug Host Plants Densities Of Nymphs Host Plant Selection Shelter Availability Offspring Performance Phytophagous Insects Insect Species Food Supply

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