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Wednesday, April 22 • 8:20am - 8:40am
The Effects of Pitcher Plant Hybridization on Oviposition of the Pitcher Plant Midge

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Diptera species like midges and mosquitoes produce lots of offspring and, as they provide no parental care, the initial choice of where they eggs is crucial to their offspring’s survival. Although mosquito and midge adults are terrestrial, their larvae are aquatic and adult females may use multiple factors to help select an ideal pool of water for eggs, including the pool’s likelihood of evaporating, its available nutrients, and the presence of predators. One midge, Metriocnemus knabi, and one mosquito, Wyeomyia smithii, are so particular that it only lays eggs in the leaves of the purple pitcher plant, Sarracenia purpurea, a pitcher plant species that hosts a community of invertebrate species in its pitchers instead of digesting these insects as prey. In the mountains of North Carolina, S. purpurea var. montana hybridizes with the mountain sweet pitcher, S. jonesii, a species that does not harbor aquatic invertebrates. Over two years, I examined whether ovipositing female flies avoided hybrids, as expected if hybrids provide a less hospitable environment for larvae. In 2013, I found both species of fly were more common in S. purpurea var. montana pitchers. In 2014, I examined whether adult females avoid hybrids due to characteristics of their pitcher water, or of the leaf itself. I tested this hypothesis by swapping water from S. purpurea var. montana pitchers with water from hybrids. I found that hybrids had fewer larvae regardless of which type of water they held, suggesting that females select sites based on characteristics of the leaves, themselves.

Wednesday April 22, 2015 8:20am - 8:40am PDT
014 Zeis Hall

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