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Drosophila glue protects from predation

Abstract : Animals can be permanently attached to a substrate in terrestrial environments at certain stages of their development. Pupa adhesion has evolved multiple times in insects and is thought to maintain the animal in a place where it is not detectable by predators. Here, we investigate whether pupa adhesion in Drosophila can also protect the animal by preventing potential predators from detaching the pupa. We measured the adhesion of Drosophila species sampled from the same area and found that pupa adhesion varies among species, which can be explained by different glue production strategies. Then, we compared attached and manually detached pupae in both field and laboratory assays to investigate the role of pupa adhesion to prevent predation. First, we found that attached pupae remain onsite 30% more than detached pupae in the field after 3 days, probably because they are less predated. Second, we observed that attached pupae are less efficiently predated by ants in the laboratory: they are not carried back to the ant nest and more ants are needed to consume them onsite. Our results show that pupa adhesion can prevent the animal from being taken away by predators and is crucial for Drosophila fly survival.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, November 16, 2021 - 11:23:36 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, November 24, 2021 - 3:10:06 AM


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Flora Borne, Stéphane Prigent, Mathieu Molet, Virginie Courtier-Orgogozo. Drosophila glue protects from predation. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Royal Society, The, 2021, 288 (1947), ⟨10.1098/rspb.2021.0088⟩. ⟨hal-03431870⟩



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