Journal of Insect Behavior

, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 55–62 | Cite as

Infanticide Avoidance by the Granary Weevil, Sitophilus granarius (L.) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae): The Role of Harbourage Markers, Oviposition Markers, and Egg-Plugs



In dual choice experiments, adult female granary weevils, Sitophilus granarius L. (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), demonstrated no feeding preference for wheat that had been previously exposed to male and female conspecifics but avoided feeding on grain parasitized with related or unrelated conspecific eggs. Feeding avoidance was lost if egg-parasitized grains possessed an additional unsealed oviposition cavity. Females also preferred to consume artificially damaged grains over undamaged grains. These results suggest that a harbourage-derived feeding deterrent does not exist but an oviposition-derived feeding deterrent does, and that this deterrent protects S. granarius conspecifics from infanticide regardless of their relationship to the adult insect. Egg-plugs may also serve to reduce infanticide by preventing the release of phagostimulatory compounds from oviposition-damaged wheat.


Sitophilus granarius curculionidae weevil infanticide egg-plug oviposition marker 



I thank Simon Fraser University and Agriculture Canada for supplying S. granarius, Bernard Roitberg and Jennifer Perry for laboratory space and comments on a previous version of this manuscript, and Kate McLellan for advice throughout this project.


  1. Bates J (1943) Varietal differences in anatomy of cross-section of wheat grain. Bot Gaz 104:409–493CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Campbell A, Sinha RN (1976) Damage of wheat by feeding of some stored product beetles. J Econ Entomol 69:11–13Google Scholar
  3. Campbell A, Singh NB, Sinha RN (1976) Bioenergetics of the granary weevil, Sitophilus granarius (L.) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae). Can J Zool 54:786–798Google Scholar
  4. Coombs CW, Woodroffe GE (1962) Some factors affecting mortality of eggs and newly emerged larvae of Ptinus tectus Boieldieu (Col: Ptinidae). J Anim Ecol 31:471–480CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cox PD, Collins LE, Bryning G (2000) Studies towards the identification of an oviposition deterrent for the grain weevil, Sitophilus granarius (L.). Central Science Laboratory, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Sand Hutton, YorkGoogle Scholar
  6. Danho M, Gaspar C, Haubruge E (2002) The impact of grain quantity on the biology of Sitophilus zeamais Motschulsky (Coleoptera: Cuculionidae): oviposition, distribution of eggs, adult emergence, body weight and sex ratio. J Stored Prod Res 38:259–266CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Davis R, Bry RE (1985) Sitophilus granarius, Sitophilus oryzae, and Sitophilus zeamais. In: Singh P, Moore RF (eds) Handbook of Insect Rearing. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 287–289Google Scholar
  8. Donat VHJ (1970) Zur kenntnis des chemoreceptorischen verhaltens des kornkäfers, Sitophilus granarius L. (Coleopt.) beim auffinden seiner nahrung. Z Angew Entomol 65:1–13Google Scholar
  9. Ewer RF (1945) The effect of grain size on the oviposition of Calandra granaria Linn. (Coleoptera, Curculionidae). Proc R Entomol Soc A 20:57–63Google Scholar
  10. Fava A, Springhetti A (1991) Eggs distribution of Sitophilus granarius L. (Col., Curculionidae) in Triticum aestivum caryopses. J Appl Entomol 111:406–411Google Scholar
  11. Faustini DL, Giese WL, Phillips JK, Burkholder WE (1982) Aggregation pheromone of the male granary weevil, Sitophilus granarius (L.). J Chem Ecol 8:679–687CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Howe RW (1951) The movement of grain weevils through grain. Bull Entomol Res 42:125–134Google Scholar
  13. Kirkpatrick RL, Wilbur DA (1965) The development and habits of the granary weevil, Sitophilus granarius within the kernel of wheat. J Econ Entomol 58:979–985Google Scholar
  14. Levinson HZ, Kanaujia KR (1981) Phagostimulatory responses of male and female Sitophilus granarius L. to newly harvested and stored wheat grains. Naturwissenschaften 68:44–45CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Levinson HZ, Kanaujia KR (1982) Feeding and oviposition behaviour of the granary weevil (Sitophilus granarius L.) induced by stored wheat, wheat extracts and dummies. Z Angew Entomol 93:292–305Google Scholar
  16. Levinson HZ, Levinson AR (1978) Dried seeds, plant and animal tissues as food favoured by storage insect species. Entomol Exp Appl 24:305–317CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Longstaff BC (1981) Biology of the grain pest species of the genus Sitophilus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae); a critical review. Prot Ecol 2:83–130Google Scholar
  18. Nawrot J (1983) Principles for control of the grain weevil (Sitophilus granarius L.) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) using natural chemical compounds affecting the behaviour of the beetles. Pr Nauk Inst Ochr Rosl 24:173–197Google Scholar
  19. Nawrot J, Polanska A, Szafranek J, Malinski E (1999) Some factors influencing on oviposition process of the granary weevil females (Sitophilus granarius L.). J Plant Prot Res 39:508–511Google Scholar
  20. Niewiada A, Nawrot J, Szafranek J, Szafranek B, Synak E, Jeleń H, Wąsowicz E (2005) Some factors affecting egg-laying of the granary weevil (Sitophilus granarius L.). J Stored Prod Res 41:544–555CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Phillips JK, Chong JM, Andersen JF, Burkholder WE (1989) Determination of the enantiomeric composition of (R*,S*)-1-ethylpropyl-2-methyl-3-hydroxypentanoate, the male-produced aggregation pheromone of Sitophilus granarius. Entomol Exp Appl 51:149–153CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Plarre R (1996) Three-dimensional distribution of Sitophilus granarius (L.) (Coleoptera: Cuculionidae) in wheat influenced by the synthetic aggregation pheromone. J Stored Prod Res 32:275–283CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Richards OW (1947) Observations on grain-weevils, Calandra (Col., Curculionidae). I. Gerneral biology and oviposition. Proc Zool Soc Lond A 117:1–43Google Scholar
  24. Richards OW (1951) The reaction to light and its inheritance in grain-weevils, Calandra granaria (L.) (Coleoptera—Curculionidae). Proc Zool Soc Lond A 121:311–314Google Scholar
  25. Richards OW, Oxley TA (1943) The ejection of frass by larvae of Calandra (Col., Curculionidae) under the influence of CO2. Proc R Soc Lond A 18:22–24Google Scholar
  26. Sinha RN (1984) Effects of weevil (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) infestation on abiotic and biotic quality of stored wheat. J Econ Entomol 77:1483–1488Google Scholar
  27. Sinha RN, Watters FL (1985) Sitophilus granarius (Linnaeus). In: Sinha RN, Watters FL (eds) Insect pests of flour mills, grain elevators, and feed mills and their control. Canadian Government Publishing Center, Ottawa, pp 194–197Google Scholar
  28. Smereka EP, Hodson AC (1959) Some humidity and light reactions of the granary weevil, Sitophilus granarius (L.) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae). Can Entomol 91:784–797CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Smith RH, Lessells CM (1985) Oviposition, ovicide and larval competition in granivorous insects. In: Sibly RM, Smith RH (eds) Behavioural ecology: ecological consequences of adaptive behaviour. Blackwell, Oxford, pp 423–448Google Scholar
  30. Stejskal V, Kučerová Z (1996) The effect of grain size on the biology of Sitophilus granarius L. (Col., Curculionidae). I. Oviposition, distribution of eggs and adult emergence. J Appl Entomol 120:143–146CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Stubbs M, Abood F (1983) Oviposition by Sitophilus granarius (L.) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) in insect contaminated wheat. J Stored Prod Res 19:51–56CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Surtees G (1963) Laboratory studies on dispersion behaviour of adult beetles in grain. I. The grain weevil, Sitophilus granarius (L.) (Coleoptera, Curculionidae). Bull Entomol Res 54:147–159CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Surtees G (1964a) Laboratory studies on dispersion behaviour of adult beetles in grain. VI. Three-dimensional analysis of dispersion of five species in a uniform bulk. Bull Entomol Res 55:161–171Google Scholar
  34. Surtees G (1964b) Laboratory studies on dispersion behaviour of adult beetles in grain. VIII. Spontaneous activity in three species and a new approach to the analysis of kinesis mechanisms. Anim Behav 12:374–377CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Surtees G (1965) Ecological significance and practical implications of behaviour patterns determining the spatial structure of insect populations in stored grain. B Entomol Res 56:201–213Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesSimon Fraser UniversityBurnabyCanada

Personalised recommendations