Effects of Glassy-Winged Sharpshooter (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae) Feeding, Size, and Lipid Content on Egg Maturation
The glassy-winged sharpshooter (Homalodisca vitripennis) is synovigenic and must feed as an adult to produce eggs. Egg maturation rates depend on the host plant species provided to the adult female for feeding and are variable for females provided with the same host plant species. Here, the contribution of female size and lipid content to variation in egg maturation rates among females held on the same host plant species was assessed. To assess effects of female size and lipid content on egg maturation, feeding assays followed by measurements of egg load, female size, and lipid content were conducted. To accomplish this, females were field collected and held on cowpea until producing approximately 0, 12, 25, or 50 ml of excreta. After reaching prescribed excreta thresholds, females were dissected to determine egg load, hind tibia length, and head capsule width. Mature eggs were removed from the abdomen and dry weight of eggs and bodies (head, thorax, and abdomen) were obtained. Lipid content of eggs and bodies were determined using a quantitative colorimetric assay. Rates of body weight gain and body lipid gain were rapid with low levels of feeding (12 ml of excreta) but decelerated with additional feeding (>12 ml of excreta). In contrast, low levels of feeding (12 ml of excreta) resulted in little egg production, with rates of egg production accelerating with additional feeding (>12 ml of excreta). Accordingly, egg production was preceded by an increase in body dry weight and body lipid content. In agreement, probability that a female carried eggs increased with body lipid content in the 0-, 12-, and 25-ml feeding treatments. Across treatments, larger females carried more eggs than smaller females. Collectively, results suggest that variation in glassy-winged sharpshooter egg maturation rates partially may be explained by availability of lipid reserves at the start of a feeding bout and female size.