Mosquito Maternity: Egg Brooding in the Life Cycle of Trichoprosopon digitatum

  • L. P. Lounibos
  • C. E. Machado-Allison
Part of the Proceedings in Life Sciences book series (LIFE SCIENCES)


Subsocial or presocial behavior, as distinguished from the more sophisticated eusociality of ants, bees, or termites, has evolved independently many times among otherwise solitary insects. Perhaps the simplest of subsocial behaviors is egg attendance, a form of parental care, which has been documented in virtually every major insect order (Hinton 1981). Presocial behaviors appear to have evolved in the course of exploitation of either particularly favorable or unusually severe environments (Wilson 1971). For example, when resources are abundant yet ephemeral, scarabaeid parents may protect offspring from intense competition by provisioning dung balls to nourish their larvae. In the exploitation of harsh environments, parental attendance is known to reduce lace bug mortality due to predation (Tallamy and Denno 1981), fungal invasion of earwig nests (Lamb 1976) and oxygen depletion in staphylinid burrows (Bro Larsen 1952). Although parental care is one evolutionary solution to environmental pressures, Tallamy (1984) cautions that it is a costly trait, predicted to evolve only in the presence of intense selective pressure and specific behavioral precursors.


Parental Care Brooding Behavior Splash Erosion Parental Attendance Costly Trait 
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© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. P. Lounibos
  • C. E. Machado-Allison

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