Causes and consequences of spatial aggregation in the phytophagous beetle Altica tombacina

Journal Article

Eggs, larvae and adults of the flea beetle Altica tombacina were consistently aggregated among stems of fireweed Epilobium angustifolium in a 3-yr census. Aggregation was due in part to the fact that flea beetle eggs are laid in clutches. Adult beetles remained longer on fireweed clones they shared with conspecifics, suggesting that aggregation is enhanced by deliberate congregation of adults. Larval survival declined as density increased, as did the mean dry weight of surviving adults in one year. Overall larval survival in the aggregated field population was only 10.5% lower in 1988 and 5.2% lower in 1989 than it would have been were larvae randomly distributed among stems. In contrast, mean survival was 36% lower in 1988, when mean density was high, than it was in 1989. Aggregation did not strongly alter the average intensity of intraspecific competition within years because the recruitment curve relating adult emergence to larval density lacked strong non-linearities over the range of densities observed in the field. -from Authors

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Morris, WF; Wiser, SD; Klepetka, B

Published Date

  • 1992

Published In

  • Journal of Animal Ecology

Volume / Issue

  • 61 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 49 - 58