Foraging and vein cutting behaviour of Euploea core corrina caterpillars
Caterpillars of Euploea core corinna (W. S. Macleay) sever leaf veins prior to feeding on their latex-bearing host plants, which restricts the flow of latex at feeding sites. The severing of leaf veins by insects feeding on latex-bearing plants is commonly referred to as 'sabotaging' and is thought to be an evolved response by the insect to counter the negative effects of feeding on latex-rich leaves. Sabotaging behaviour is described for all instars of E. core corinna, with particular attention given to neonates. Vein cutting by neonate E. core corinna caterpillars can occur within 2 h of hatching, with most caterpillars establishing feeding sites within 10 h. Commonly, first instars cut an arc-shaped row of leaf side-veins parallel to the leaf margin, but they may also cut the leaf mid-rib in a fashion similar to older instar larvae. From a sample of 50 E. core corinna larvae, representing all instars, we found that the diameters of the veins cut by caterpillars are closely correlated to larval head width (r = 0.90). Through manipulative experiments, we demonstrate for the first time that sabotaging behaviour in neonate caterpillars imposes no detectable short-term physiological costs on those caterpillars.
Australian Journal of Entomology
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HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY