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Journal Articles Freshwater Biology Year : 2022

Body stores of emergent aquatic insects are associated with body size, sex, swarming behaviour and dispersal strategies

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Abstract

Dispersal is a determining step in the life cycle of insects and a key factor of their energy budget. If the body stores of terrestrial insects are relatively well-documented, those of merolimnic insects (i.e., with aquatic larvae and terrestrial winged adults) remain poorly investigated. We assayed the body stores (protein, carbohydrate and lipid contents) of 18 families of merolimnic insects, encompassing a wide diversity of biological and ecological traits. We highlighted allometry between body stores and mass. The proportion of triglyceride and free carbohydrate relatively decreases with an increase in absolute insect mass, whereas protein and glycogen contents are proportional. We found a significant effect of insect order, Diptera having relatively more proteins than Trichoptera. For swarming taxa, males have relatively more triglycerides than their conspecific female. Passive dispersers are characterised by higher protein and glycogen contents Each body store was associated with specific life-history traits, emphasising the importance of considering each body store independently to better understand the associated functions. Dispersal strategies seem to be the main structuring factor underlying body store patterns of merolimnic insects, being significantly associated with the variation in adjusted triglycerides (30%), proteins (21%), glycogen (29%) and free carbohydrates (17%). However, our study estimated the role of flight only indirectly through the biological traits of insects. Future works should focus on identifying which substrates are used for flight, by comparing the proportion of body stores before and after flight, as well as protein identification to distinguish proteins associated with flight or reproduction. These further studies will help researchers in understanding the link between body stores of emerging merolimnic insects and the various facets of their ecology.
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Dates and versions

hal-03829811 , version 1 (30-10-2022)

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Attribution - CC BY 4.0

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Rémi Gerber, Lilian Cabon, Christophe Piscart, Jean-Marc Roussel, Benjamin Bergerot. Body stores of emergent aquatic insects are associated with body size, sex, swarming behaviour and dispersal strategies. Freshwater Biology, 2022, 67 (12), pp.2161-2175. ⟨10.1111/fwb.14003⟩. ⟨hal-03829811⟩
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