Shelter-building behavior and natural history of two pyralid caterpillars feeding on Piper stipulaceum.
Bottom Line: Shelter-building behavior was found to be constrained by the ontogenetic stage of caterpillars and influenced by leaf size of the host plant, Piper stipulaceum Opiz (Piperales: Piperaceae) .A similar pattern of shelter-building behavior exhibited by Tosale n. sp. near cuprealis larvae that coexisted in the same host plant is also described.Larvae of the second species were significantly less abundant than those of Lepidomys and hatched one month later in the rainy season, which could indicate some competitive interactions between these two pyralid species.
Affiliation: Departamento de Ecología Evolutiva, Instituto de Ecología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), México D.F., México Department of Biological Sciences, George Washington University, 2023 G St. NW Suite 340, Washington, D.C., USA email@example.com.Show MeSH
Mentions: This study was carried out in 2008 at the Chamela-Cuixmala Biosphere Reserve, which is located on the Pacific coast of Jalisco, Mexico, between N 19°30′ and W 105°3′ (Noguera et al. 2002). The vegetation in this area is dominated by tropical dry forest (Lott et al. 1987), with a mean annual precipitation of 788 mm and high variation between years. Lepidomys n. sp. near proclea Druce (Lepidomys hereafter) coexisted with another undescribed pyralid, Tosale n. sp. near cuprealis Hampson (Lepidoptera: Pyraloidea: Pyralidae: Chrysauginae) (Tosale hereafter). Due to the poor knowledge of these taxa (A. Solis, personal communication), their actual phylogenetic relationship is still unknown. Both species built identical shelters on the foliage of the shrub Piper stipulaceum Opiz (Piperales: Piperaceae) and fed inside them. Their larvae were indistinguishable in the field (Figure 1), and they belong to the neglected pyralid subfamily Chrysauginae, which includes a number of nonmonophyletic, monotypic genera (A. Solis, personal communication). Arthropod herbivores from the Chamela region are strongly seasonal, and their activity is determined by rainfall patterns, with peak activity at the beginning of the rainy season (July–November) and a restricted activity period for adults (Pescador-Rubio et al. 2002).
Affiliation: Departamento de Ecología Evolutiva, Instituto de Ecología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), México D.F., México Department of Biological Sciences, George Washington University, 2023 G St. NW Suite 340, Washington, D.C., USA firstname.lastname@example.org.