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Influence of temperature on populations within a guild of mesquite bruchids (Coleoptera: Bruchidae)

Kistler, R.A.
Environmental entomology 1995 v.24 no.3 pp. 663-672
interspecific variation, air temperature, phenology, desert animals, Bruchidae, Prosopis velutina, life cycle (organisms), population dynamics, Arizona
The effect that harsh, variable desert temperatures might have on the structure and population dynamics of a guild of Bruchidae (Coleoptera) that feed in the seeds of mesquite, Prosopis velutina Wooten, was examined in a 3-yr field and laboratory study. Metabolic rate, fecundity, longevity, developmental times, survivorship, and body size were measured across the temperature spectrum in which the species normally live. The 4 species that compose the guild-Algarobius prosopis (LeConte), Mimosestes amicus (Horn), Mimosestes protractus (Horn), and Neltumius arizonensis (Schaeffer) divide the use of the resource temporally. The first 2 species dominate resource use and overlap entirely in time, whereas the 2 latter minor species utilize opposite ends of the temporal resource spectrum. Of the two dominants, M. amicus functions as a physiological generalist, apparently sacrificing resource adaptation for greater temperature adaptation and very high reproductive output. In contrast, A. prosopis is well adapted to both the use of mesquite as a resource and also to the desert thermal environment. The 2 minor species seem to be less well adapted to both the resource and the environment. Temperature clearly plays a strong role in determining the structure of this guild of bruchids.