- Predators induce egg retention in prey
- Volume | Issue number
- 150 | 4
- Number of pages
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED)
To prevent predation on their eggs, prey often avoid patches occupied by predators. As a result, they need to delay oviposition until they reach predator-free patches. Because many species allocate energy to egg production in a continuous fashion, it is not clear what kind of mechanism prey use to delay oviposition. We used females of the phytoseiid mite Neoseiulus cucumeris to study these mechanisms. Females were placed in patches with pollen, a food source they use for egg production, and they were exposed to another phytoseiid mite, Iphiseius degenerans, which is an intraguild predator of N. cucumeris juveniles. We found that the oviposition of N. cucumeris females on patches with the predator was lower than on patches without the predator. Cues left by the intraguild predator were not sufficient to elicit such behaviour. Females of N. cucumeris reduced oviposition when exposed to the predator by retaining the egg inside their body, resulting in a lower developmental rate once these eggs were laid. Hence, females are capable of retaining eggs, but the development of these eggs continues inside the mother's body. In this way, females gain some time to search for less risky oviposition sites.
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