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Photoperiod influence on the biology and phenological characteristics of Dichelops melacanthus (Dallas, 1851) (Heteroptera: Pentatomidae)

Keywords: diapause , development , reproductive performance , dimorphism , photophase

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The influence of the photoperiod on the biology and seasonal morphs of Dichelops melacanthus (Dallas, 1851) was studied in the laboratory. Four different photoperiods (11, 12, 13, and 14 hL = hours of light) were tested, keeping the temperature at 25 ± 1oC and the relative humidity at 65 ± 5%. Nymph developmental time tended to be longer under shorter photophases (11 and 12 hL). The 14-hour photophase (long day) resulted in lower nymph mortality rates. Females maintained at 13 and 14 hL showed greater weight gain (1st-28th day) than females under 12 hL. D. melacanthus showed reproductive oligopause induced by short photophases, especially when exposed to 11 hL. Under 13 and 14 hL, 85% and 65% of females oviposited, respectively, in comparison to 10% and 15% of females ovipositing under 11 and 12 hL, respectively. Fecundity (number of egg masses and number of eggs/female) was greater in the longer than under the shorter photophases. Seasonal dimorphism induced by photoperiod was observed in D. melacanthus adults. Under short-day conditions (11 and 12 hL), adults showed short and rounded shoulder spines, grayish brown abdomen (mainly in 11 hL), high lipid contents, and lower percentage of mature reproductive organs. Under long-day conditions (13 and 14 hL), the stink bugs showed greatly developed shoulder spines, green abdomen, low lipid contents, and mature reproductive organs.


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