Effect of energetic cost to maintain the trap for Myrmeleon brasiliensis (Neuroptera, Myrmeleontidae) in its development and adult size

posted on 10.04.2019 by T. N. Lima, D. C. R. Silva

Abstract Antlion larvae Myrmeleon brasiliensis Návas, 1914 (Neuroptera, Myrmeleontidae) are sit-and-wait predators who build traps to catch their prey. The aim of this study was to observe under laboratory conditions, how the energy cost spent on maintenance of their traps affects: the larval developmental time, time spent as a pupa, mortality rate of larvae and adult size. M. brasiliensis larvae were collected in the municipality of Aquidauana, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil and were individually maintained in plastic containers and subjected to two treatments. In the control treatment larvae did not have their traps disturbed while in the manipulated treatment, larvae had their traps disturbed three times a week. The experiments were followed until adult emergence. When the adults emerged, their body size (head-abdomen), anterior and posterior wing span and width were measured. Furthermore, the number of larvae that died during the experiment was recorded. The results showed that the larvae whose traps were manipulated had longer larval development time, smaller pupal development time and were smaller adults. It can be concluded that the energy expenditure spent on maintenance of the trap constructed by M. brasiliensis larvae can affect the development of negative ways, represented by a longer larval development and reduced adult size.