DOI: 10.1007/s10144-015-0491-4

Host selection in insects: reproductive interference shapes behavior of ovipositing females

1. Laboratory of Conservation Biology, Center for Northeast Asian Studies, Tohoku University, Sendai, Miyagi, Japan

Correspondence to:
Suzuki Noriyuki



In nature, closely related species often utilize different host species, but it is still unclear what factors contribute to the evolution and maintenance of such diversified host selection. In this review, I describe how negative interspecific mating interactions (reproductive interference) can shape host selection by animals, focusing mainly on phytophagous and predatory insects. First, I explain an important premise of this hypothesis, which is that the adult reproductive site is the same as the feeding site for the offspring. Next, I describe several mathematical models and well-studied empirical systems to show that reproductive interference can sufficiently drive and maintain different host selection between phylogenetically related species. Then, I argue for the first time that reproductive interference can cause an oviposition preference in insects that is not optimal for the survival and development of the offspring, as a result of maternal adaptive behavior that maximizes the mother’s own fitness. Furthermore, I argue that in insects, reproductive interference probably shapes oviposition behavior before the female alights on the host (e.g., habitat preference), without affecting post-alighting decision making. I would like to emphasize that these two arguments represent the novel approach to clarify the unrevealed pattern of complex insect oviposition behavior.

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