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Annu Rev Entomol. 2002;47:361-93.

Ecology and behavior of first instar larval Lepidoptera.

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1
Department of Zoology and Entomology, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. M.Zalucki@mailbox.uq.edu.au

Abstract

Neonate Lepidoptera are confronted with the daunting task of establishing themselves on a food plant. The factors relevant to this process need to be considered at spatial and temporal scales relevant to the larva and not the investigator. Neonates have to cope with an array of plant surface characters as well as internal characters once the integument is ruptured. These characters, as well as microclimatic conditions, vary within and between plant modules and interact with larval feeding requirements, strongly affecting movement behavior, which may be extensive even for such small organisms. In addition to these factors, there is an array of predators, pathogens, and parasitoids with which first instars must contend. Not surprisingly, mortality in neonates is high but can vary widely. Experimental and manipulative studies, as well as detailed observations of the animal, are vital if the subtle interaction of factors responsible for this high and variable mortality are to be understood. These studies are essential for an understanding of theories linking female oviposition behavior with larval survival, plant defense theory, and population dynamics, as well as modern crop resistance breeding programs.

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