n African Entomology - Bivoltinism in (Zygoptera: Odonata) in the southern margin of its distribution range : emergence pattern and larval growth




Voltinism is an important life history trait that varies with the environment. In temperate zones, insect populations take a substantially longer time to reach the adult stage in the northern compared to the southern regions. In this study, emergence pattern and larval growth of the threatened zygopteran (Odonata) were investigated in a population located in the southern limit of its distribution range in order to determine its life history strategies in a hot climate and compare them to those displayed in northern populations. There was no apparent winter diapause. The species produced two generations in a year, with the first generation emerging in mid spring and the second in late summer. The emergence pattern of the first generation was typical of a summer species and lasted 48 days. All larvae emerged by the end of May. Due to some environmental perturbations, the emergence pattern of the second generation was not surveyed, but there was evidence that the emergence season was short (21 days). Larval structure prior to the second emergence of the year showed that only 25% of the population was in the final instar, which explains the shorter emergence season. We assume that the first eggs laid in the spring hatch and grow rapidly to reach the final instar in late summer as a consequence of higher temperatures and potential high food availability. There was a significant seasonal decline in body size in both males and females. The second generation had a significantly smaller body size, presumably due to the short growth season and/or higher growth rate.


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