This variety lays its (golden) eggs on the backs of its mates

This variety lays its (golden) eggs on the backs of its mates

Here, photographed in macro in its habitat in the Pyrenees, this strange Mediterranean bug, about 1 cm long,
phylomorpha lacinita ,
Hemiptera Heteroptera of the Coridae family) and exceptionally chiseled with numerous spiny extensions, the object of surprising behavior: the female of this bug, which has no particular differences with the male (slightly smaller, and again), preferably lives on the back. of his comrades! Male or female, all persons are more or less covered by
famous golden eggs who is well
bonded with an adhesive

The hatching of young individuals therefore occurs on the bodies of these “parent” carriers, from which they acquire their host plant, the paronych. Paronychia Argentina (Caryophyllaceae), where they will develop within a few weeks.

Why such behavior?

One might think that carrying eggs of one’s own species allows the eggs to better escape predators (motility and sometimes active defence) and increases the survival rate of the offspring. Indeed, what could be more delicate than an egg left for itself on the ground or on a plant where so many predators such as ants or voracious patrol are patrolling?
carob, even parasites that want to use it to develop their offspring (by laying it inside).

Describe a person with several eggs (at least six), some of which hatch from eggs. On their surface we can observe the hexagon subtle sculpture. Romain Garrost (via The Conversation)

Researchers have thought of this advantage and tested it against predators – the tits – in reproduction: the egg-carrying bug is eaten more than others because, loaded with extra weight, it is less apt to leak. Is. Perhaps to counteract this effect, females also lay eggs on host plants. Thus not all eggs are contained in the same basket, and all solutions are used: male and female congeners, host plants. In fact, there is no detriment to the laying bug, with many options including the absence of an available carrier.

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This behavior allows for the best possible adaptation to their environmental conditions (prey pressure, climate, etc.) at the time of spawning, as in some social species such as wild bees that can nest solitary as well as nest in groups. , then sharing tasks such as feeding. “Alternative sociability” is then an effective adaptive strategy to adapt to environmental conditions (eg depending on the availability of resources, habitats).

Phyllomorpha laciniata (Heteropteran Hemiptera of the Coridae family) © Lie van Rompie / Wikimedia CC BY-SA 4.0

golden eggs

The golden egg of this bug is small round shape Tall with hexagonal microscopic sculptures visible at high magnification – which gives it its English name “golden egg bug” – wears a recognizable outfit mixed with some reflections
clear clause, the petal-like leaves that surround the “true” flowers of Paronychia, the host plant of the golden egg worm.

This coloration of the eggs probably allows both laying females to signal “Eh, I’m already taking my share, and don’t add”, but to give little attention by predators, and especially the load. to keep. Accompaniment. With the possibilities of avoiding them if necessary, as shown by the experience with the breast. One type of settlement, which remains unique, as this bug is the only one to have this behavior of laying on any parent, including other females.

The analysis was authored by Romain Garoust, researcher at the Institute for Systematics, Evolution, Biodiversity of the National Museum of Natural History (MNHN).
The original article was published on the website


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