Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

 

Biological studies on Saldula palustris (Douglas) with emphasis on factors influencing wing pigmentation (Heteroptera:Saldidae) Public Deposited

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  • The life history and wing pattern variation of the intertidal shore bug, Saldula palustris (Douglas), were studied in field and experimental populations from June 1970 until February 1972. The study site was an estuarine salt marsh on Yaquina Bay near Toledo, Oregon. The insects live below mean high water level and are regularly submerged by the tide for up to ten hours. Behavior of S. palustris upon submergence is well adapted to the intertidal habitat. Overwintering occurs in the adult stage and adults migrate from the intertidal area in late fall, The reproductive period begins upon their return in February with mating, egg development, and oviposition and ends in September with cessation of these activities. The first adults of the spring generation appear in mid-May. There are three generations a year and reproductive diapause in fall and winter is facultative. Mean adult wing darkness (based on percent dark area in wing membrane) in field collections varied from palest in mid-summer (45-50% dark) to darkest in late fall (65-70% dark). Males and females were in general not significantly different in wing darkness. Wings of females are longer (and wing membrane area larger) than those of males. Maximum wing lengths were found in adults collected during the spring and late summer. Wing darkness was not associated with wing size in each sample but correlations over time, related to the emergence of the different generations, were observed. Aging had no effect on the extent of pigmentation in adult wings. Temperature effects on the insects were investigated in some detail since previous reports showed that temperature was a major factor influencing the life history and morphological variation of insects. Developmental threshold temperatures, determined in the laboratory for S.palustris (10° C for embryonic development and hatching, 15° C for development to adult), were correlated with mean field temperatures and the first and last appearance of the various developmental stages in the field in spring and fall. Temperature had the greatest effect on resulting adult wing darkness during the third and fourth nymphal stages, cooler temperatures producing darker adults. Similarly, cool rearing temperatures produced significantly darker fifth instar cuticles if the nymphs were subjected to the lower temperature prior to the fifth instar. As with adults, nymphs do not darken after hardening following the moult. Adults reared from the fourth instar stage on a black substrate had significantly darker wings than adults reared from similar age on a white substrate.
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