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Data from: Chemical defense and tonic immobility in early life stages of the Harlequin cabbage bug, Murgantia histrionica (Heteroptera: Pentatomidae)

Citation

Guerra-Grenier, Eric; Liu, Rui; Arnason, John T.; Sherratt, Thomas N. (2021), Data from: Chemical defense and tonic immobility in early life stages of the Harlequin cabbage bug, Murgantia histrionica (Heteroptera: Pentatomidae), Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.tmpg4f4zg

Abstract

Antipredation strategies are important for the survival and fitness of animals, especially in more vulnerable life stages. In insects, eggs and early juvenile stages are often either immobile or unable to rapidly flee and hide when facing predators. Understanding what alternative antipredation strategies they use, but also how those change over development time, is required to fully appreciate how species have adapted to biotic threats. Murgantia histrionica is a stink bug, conspicuously colored from egg to adult, known to sequester defensive glucosinolates from its cruciferous hosts as adults. We sought to assess whether this chemical defense is also present in its eggs and early nymphal instars and quantified how it fluctuates among life stages. In parallel, we looked at an alternative antipredation strategy, described for the first time in this species: tonic immobility. Our results show that the eggs are significantly more chemically defended than the first two mobile life stages, but not than the third instar. Tonic immobility is also favored by hatchlings, but less so by subsequent instars. We argue the case that over development time, tonic immobility is a useful defensive strategy until adequate chemical protection is achieved over an extended feeding period.

Funding

Fonds de recherche du Québec – Nature et technologies

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada