Seasonal ontogenetic colour plasticity in the adult striated shieldbug Graphosoma lineatum (Heteroptera) and its effect on detectability
2008 (English)In: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, ISSN 1432-0762, Vol. 62, no 9, 1389-1396 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Camouflage and warning colouration are two important forms of protective colouration. We have studied the detectability of two seasonal colourations in the aposematic striated shieldbug, Graphosoma lineatum. The typical colouration of this insect is red and black, which is also the colouration of the reproductive post-hibernation bugs in our study area in south central Sweden. However, the majority of newly eclosed adults in late summer exhibit a ‘pale’ (light brownish, non-red) and black striation, and these bugs appear quite cryptic to the human eye when sitting on the dried stems and umbels of their host plants. In experiments using photographs of prey in the late-summer habitat shown on a computer screen, we compared the time to detection by human subjects of bugs, which had been manipulated to show either of the two typical seasonal colourations. Time to detection was significantly longer for the pale and black than for the red-and-black striation in images with the bug photographed at two different distances. This indicates that the pale pre-hibernation striation may have a cryptic function. In a separate experiment, we tested detectability of striated and non-striated manipulations of bug pre-hibernation colouration against the late-summer background, and found that time to detection was significantly longer for the striated bugs. We discuss potential functional explanations for the seasonal ontogenetic colour plasticity and suggest that the epidermal pale colour in the late summer provides a benefit of increased camouflage.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 62, no 9, 1389-1396 p.
aposematism, conspicuousness, camouflage, crypsis, detection experiments, natural background
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-14630DOI: doi:10.1007/s00265-008-0567-7ISI: 000256475800002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-14630DiVA: diva2:181150