The importance of temperature and moisture to the egg-laying behaviour of a pest slug, Deroceras reticulatum
Willis, J. C., Bohan, D. A., Powers, S. J., Choi, Y. H., Park, J. and Gussin, E. (2008) The importance of temperature and moisture to the egg-laying behaviour of a pest slug, Deroceras reticulatum. Annals of Applied Biology, 153 (1). pp. 105-115. ISSN 0003-4746
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7348.2008.00242.x
Oviposition behaviour is important when modelling the population dynamics of many invertebrates. The numbers of eggs laid are frequently used to describe fecundity, but this measure may differ significantly from realised fecundity. Oviposition has been shown to be important when describing the dynamics of slug populations, which are important agricultural pests. The numbers of eggs laid by Deroceras reticulatum and their viability were measured across a range of 16 temperature (4, 10, 15 and 23 degrees C) by moisture (33%, 42%, 53% and 58% by dry soil weight) experimental combinations. A fitted quadratic response surface model was used to estimate how D. reticulatum adjusted its egg laying to the surrounding temperature and moisture conditions, with most eggs being laid at a combination of 53% soil moisture and 18 degrees C. The number and proportion of viable eggs also covaried with temperature and moisture, suggesting that D. reticulatum may alter their investment in reproduction to maximise their fitness. We have shown that the number of viable eggs differs from the total number of eggs laid by D. reticulatum. Changes in egg viability with temperature and moisture may also be seen in other species and should be considered when modelling populations of egg-laying invertebrates.