Document Type

Peer-Review Article


The effects of soil moisture on the pupation behavior of a willow flea beetle, Attica subplicata, were studied with two laboratory experiments. To test the effect of soil moisture on the number of larvae pupating and pupal survival, we set up pupation chambers filled with sand with three different soil moistures: dry, moist, and wet. The number of larvae pupating was much greater in the moist sand and wet sand treatments than in the dry sand treatment. Pupal survival, as measured by the proportion of adults successfully emerging, was greater in the moist treatment than in the wet or dry treatments. Thus, overall pupation success (number of adults successfully emerging) was greater in the moist treatment than in the wet treatment and greater in the wet treatment than in the dry treatment. To examine the effect of soil moisture on choice of pupation site, we provided the larvae with a choice of two soil moistures in each pupation chamber. More larvae chose wet over dry conditions and more chose moist over dry conditions, but larvae did not discriminate between moist and wet conditions. The improved pupation in areas with higher soil moisture is consistent with the field distribution pattern of greater beetle densities on dunes with greater soil moisture.

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Entomology Commons