Behavioral Ecology of Oviposition-Site Selection in Herbivorous True Bugs

G. Martinez, R. Soler, M. Dicke

Research output: Chapter in book/volumeChapterScientific


Optimal oviposition theory predicts that female herbivores prefer to oviposit on those plants that maximize offspring performance, also known as the “mother knows best” paradigm. This is the general pattern within the insect order Lepidoptera with specialist diets and reduced larval mobility. In that context, mother's decisions are crucial to the development of the offspring. In this review, we discuss oviposition-site selection behavior by the Heteroptera, focusing on the particular traits of this taxon in comparison with the most studied holometabolous insects. This review takes a multitrophic perspective and focuses on three main factors affecting the behavioral ecology of oviposition-site selection in true bugs: (1) life-history characteristics of the bugs, including host-plant specialization and mobility of larvae; (2) plant characteristics, including morphology and induced responses to feeding and oviposition, and (3) interactions with natural enemies, including parasitoid foraging behavior and strategies of bugs to interfere with the activity of parasitoids. New insights to the “mother knows best” paradigm of the behavioral ecology of oviposition-site selection by insects are provided by comparing the oviposition decisions displayed by true bugs with those of the well-studied Lepidoptera. The review ends with the identification of questions to be addressed in future studies on the behavioral ecology of oviposition by insects.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in the Study of Behavior 45
EditorsH.J. Brockmann, T.J. Roper, M. Naguib, J.C. Mitani, L.W. Simmons, L. Barrett
PublisherElsevier B.V.
Number of pages492
ISBN (Print)978-0-12-407186-5
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Publication series

NameAdvances in the Study of Behavior


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