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Aquatic Entomology$
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Jill Lancaster and Barbara J. Downes

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199573219

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199573219.001.0001

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Oviposition and eggs

Oviposition and eggs

(p.173) Chapter 11 Oviposition and eggs
Aquatic Entomology

Jill Lancaster

Barbara J. Downes

Oxford University Press

Oviposition is the term used to describe laying of eggs. This is a complex event and the discussion in this chapter is organised around two different sets of behaviours: pre-oviposition and post-oviposition. Pre-oviposition incorporates all the behaviours and factors involved in the selection of, or attraction to, an oviposition site and oviposition itself. Aquatic insects exploit an enormous range of oviposition sites (many aquatic and some terrestrial) and have egg-laying behaviours that include broadcasting eggs while in flight, laying eggs on and inside plant material, and females that enter the water to lay eggs attached to substrates underwater. Locating suitable oviposition sites may involve visual cues, such as using polarized light to locate water bodies, and chemical cues to select sites that are free of predators or that have suitable resources for larvae. Once the eggs have left the female (post-oviposition), they have many different strategies for ensuring that development of the embryo can proceed. Strategies discussed include gas exchange in eggs, coatings that provide eggs with protection from environmental stresses, devices for attaching eggs to substrates, and defences from would-be attackers. The eggs of most aquatic insects develop without the benefit of parental care, but there are a few cases of parental care, particularly in the Belostomatidae.

Keywords:   oviposition, egg-laying, eggs, parental care, egg attachment, oviposition sites

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