Biology Reference
In-Depth Information
to the molting phase. Molting larvae were traced under deep layers of litter and loose
humus, and were seen hidden inside crevices and cavities of mud lumps. They could
penetrate as deep as 2 cm into the loose humus. Centripetal search in small sectors
revealed that larvae had moved only 20
30 cm away in search of shelter.
Larvae released in the forest during monsoon months settled on the superficial
layers of litter. Larvae released on grazing ground during dry months settled under
grass and in earth crevices, of which only a small proportion was recovered as
nymphs. Larvae released on grazing ground during rainy seasons were washed
away and there was no recovery of nymphs. On the forest edge, where the ground
was covered with a thin layer of litter mixed with grass, a small proportion of
nymphs was recovered.
Larval molting: Larvae molted into nymphs 22
29 days after the release.
Freshly emerged nymphs appeared on vegetation soon after molting. Larvae
released on more exposed areas molted earlier than those on less exposed areas.
Larvae released during monsoon months molted earlier than those released at other
months. Nymphs appeared on vegetation and on the litter soon after molting, irre-
spective of season. Freshly molted nymphs containing traces of larval blood meal
emerged on the surface. Emerging nymphs from some groups were recovered peri-
odically to estimate the proportion of larvae molted into nymphs. They were
re-released in other places to study their longevity. The recovery of nymphs inside
the forest was 24
78%. The grazing field was most unfavorable niche for larval
molting and only up to 4% recovery could be made, except in one group which
yielded 25.5% nymphs. Nymphs survived on litter and on vegetation for a maxi-
mum span of 6 months. Though nymphs emerged early in the rainy months, they
could survive for 3
6 months. The mortality rate was higher due to heavy rain.
Engorged nymphs: A total of 10,725 freshly fed nymphs, which were intro-
duced into different microhabitats of the forest biotope in 36 groups each having
50
2,000 individuals, between December 1963 and June 1965, were studied for
their behavioral pattern. Thirty-two groups were released during dry season from
October to May, the period of nymphal activity, and four were released during
rainy season. When released, engorged nymphs crawled at random in all directions
seeking a way into the deeper layers of litter. Underneath the litter they settled at
different depths in litter and humus. They could be traced as deep as 2.5 cm in the
humus. The activity ceased 24
48 h after the release. When disturbed by lifting
the litter cover and exposing to light, they resumed their activity, which ceased
when they again found a shelter. The activity totally ceased when they entered the
molting phase after 7
10 days.
During dry months the nymphs settled in the deeper layers of litter or humus.
They were seen in the crevices, cavities in the lumps of mud, and between decom-
posing leaves. During rainy season they were traced in the superficial layers of the
litter. On grazing land they settled in the crevices, but were either desiccated during
dry months or were washed away during monsoon months. The dispersal was as
far as 30 cm from the point of release. Forest ants, particularly from group nos. 5,
7, and 10, predated a large number of nymphs. Nymphs molted into adults 24
35
days after release. Each batch took 2
5 days to complete the molting.
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