Evol Ecol Res 8: 881-890 (2006)     Full PDF if your library subscribes.

Are gregarious red-black shieldbugs, Graphosoma lineatum (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae), really aposematic? An experimental approach

Petr Veselý,* Silvie Veselá, Roman Fuchs and Jan Zrzavý

Department of Zoology, Faculty of Biological Sciences, University of South Bohemia, Branišovská 31, 370 05 České Budějovice, Czech Republic

Author to whom all correspondence should be addressed.
e-mail: petr-vesely@seznam.cz


Hypothesis: The coloration of the red-black shieldbug has a warning function. This quality can be lowered when the shieldbug is presented on a fragmented background.

Organism: We offered wild-coloured and artificially deaposematized (painted brown) red-black shieldbugs (Graphosoma lineatum) to avian predators (Parus major, Parus caeruleus).

Site of experiments: The experiments were conducted in a cage (0.7 m × 0.7 m × 0.7 m) fitted with a one-way mirror.

Methods: In succession, we offered five shieldbugs to each bird. We presented the shieldbugs on contrasting (white) and matching (imitating the shieldbug’s habitat and imitating the striated shieldbug pattern) backgrounds.

Results: The blue tits avoided all shieldbugs offered to them regardless of their coloration. The great tits attacked both colour forms, but the brown one more frequently. The wild-coloured shieldbugs were significantly better protected against repeated attacks. Shieldbugs presented on any of the matching backgrounds were attacked less frequently than when presented on the white background.

Keywords: disruptive coloration, Parus caeruleus, Parus major, warning coloration.

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        © 2006 Petr Veselý. All EER articles are copyrighted by their authors. All authors endorse, permit and license Evolutionary Ecology Ltd. to grant its subscribing institutions/libraries the copying privileges specified below without additional consideration or payment to them or to Evolutionary Ecology, Ltd. These endorsements, in writing, are on file in the office of Evolutionary Ecology, Ltd. Consult authors for permission to use any portion of their work in derivative works, compilations or to distribute their work in any commercial manner.

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