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Guarding behaviour against intraspecific kleptoparasites in the subsocial shield bug, Parastrachia japonensis (Heteroptera: Parastrachiidae)

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image of Behaviour

Females of the subsocial shield bug Parastrachia japonensis progressively provision nymphcontaining burrows with drupes of the host tree, Schoepfia jasminodora. Because an earlier study revealed that intraspecific kleptoparasitism, whereby females steal provisioned drupes from the burrows of other females, is quite prevalent, we investigated whether females have acquired any particular guarding behaviours against intraspecific kleptoparasites. A homed female showed two different behavioural phases: the first was a holding posture phase, assumed when the bug was still holding the newly provisioned drupe, and the second was an attending phase, which occurred when the female released the drupe and set it down in the nest. The nymphs gathered on the provisioned drupe as soon as the female began the holding behaviour, upon returning to the nest. The duration of the holding phase decreased gradually with the development of the nymphs. During the holding phase, the female displayed a distinctive guarding behaviour toward the intruding female, and as a result, had significantly greater success in repelling the intruder than during the attending phase, although the attending behaviour also significantly reduced the rate of kleptoparasitism compared to the control. These results suggest that holding and attending behaviours after homing are direct counter-strategies to intraspecific kleptoparasitism in P. japonensis.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, Faculty of Medicine, Hamamatsu University School of Medicine, Handayama 1-20-1, Higashi-ku, Hamamatsu, Shizuoka 431-3192, Japan; 2: Department of Biology, Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY 11549, USA; 3: Department of Applied Biological Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture, Saga University, Honjo-1, Saga City, Saga 840-8502, Japan


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