By S. Sutton (Auth.)
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Extra resources for Woodlice
I 1 1 1 1 1 Apr. Jly. 1965 1 1 Oct. 1 1 1 1 1 J a n . Mar. 1966 Fig. 1 8 Mortality pattern of Philoscia muscorum. T h e graph shows the decline in numbers of a group born in one season. Mortality is heaviest in the youngest stages. E a c h point represents a sample from the same population; deviations from the curve are caused by sampling errors. would be very interesting to know if very y o u n g woodlice react to adverse conditions in choice-chamber experiments as speedily a n d as surely as do their parents.
Parthenogenesis Another genetic eccentricity found in woodlice is parthenogenesis (the production of young from unfertilized eggs). It is known to occur in one race of Trichoniscus pusillus and has been extensively studied by Vandel (1940). Parthenogenesis is the reverse of monogeny in that outbreeding is not possible because there is no mating, so the gene pool cannot be enriched by the crossing-over of chromosomes. As a result, beneficial mutations cannot spread through the population which, therefore, cannot adapt as quickly as a normal breeding group to new ecological situations.
The response of a woodlouse to a single stimulus such as light, under laboratory conditions, often appears to be clear-cut and stereotyped, but it is very important to realize that, in nature, the strength and type of the response to any one stimulus is influenced by the strength of other stimuli and by the physiological state of the animal. The result is that, in nature, the behaviour of a woodlouse is very varied, responding precisely to external conditions and the needs of the body. Humidity and temperature differ from other stimuli in that they 38 BEHAVIOUR directly affect the survival of the animal.