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January 7, 2010 7:05 PM   Subscribe

EntomologyFilter - Help a librarian out of his depth find a better plan of attack on some specific insect-related searching. I need to know if terminology exists for what I need to find.

Alright, here goes: I'm looking for ways biologists refer to insects which spend parts of their life cycle inside of the seeds of plants. I was specifically asked about hibernation inside seeds, but I'm sure other parts of the life cycle could also apply.

The specific plants mentionned are angiosperms and deciduous trees on a global scale with the only real limitation being they should fall primarily in temperate zones.

I did come across one specific variety of seed-boring beetle with a latin name including something like bruscea, but I haven't got my notes at home with me.

So if you've got any turns of phrase, figures of speech or other teminology (including any relevant families, genii or species) related to this, I'd be most grateful. Right now I can't sift data properly because I'm a bit like an ant in an XKCD comic.

[It just occured to me that I never searched for any variation of "seed-bor*", so that's on the to-do list: note to self, GET MORE SLEEP]
posted by Decimask to Science & Nature (5 answers total)
My entomologist roommate says to check out things that cause insect galls such as gall wasps, gall midges, gall flies, etc. This is specific to the insects that produce galls, which are abnormal outgrowth of the plant tissues.
posted by shaun uh at 7:17 PM on January 7, 2010

You might find some fun stuff among the insects that you find inside acorns. :)
posted by Edubya at 10:05 PM on January 7, 2010

There are quite a few varieties of insects which live in seeds in the larval stage. Weevils for example lay eggs in cereal grains; the larvae then live in the seeds (until pupation?) and chew their way out. For example, the hazelnut or acorn weevil. See also this list of weevils on Britannica.

Could the bruchidae, or seed beetle, have been the seed-boring beetle you were thinking of?

The almond seed wasp sounds quite close to what you're talking about. It lays eggs, as the name suggests, in almond seeds. The larvae hatch in the seeds, reach full size in summer, and hibernate in the seed in winter. That's in a Mediterranean climate, though.

It sounds like galls can occur on any part of a plant, not necessarily a seed/fruit, but they are used as a form of hibernation by insects (according to this "Locations of Hibernating Insects" wikipedia article, in any case). Gall midges for example hibernate in galls which have fallen off trees. The galls are formed on leaves, rather than seeds, however.

Not sure if this answer has helped... For what it's worth, the Encyclopedia of Entomology looks like a really helpful resource, if you have access to the full text version.
posted by the cat's pyjamas at 10:17 PM on January 7, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. All answers were good, but I wound up spending a few hours hammering at it. He replied back with some specific tree genera, which I can work with.
posted by Decimask at 5:23 PM on January 11, 2010

Response by poster: And yes, the cat's pyjamas, it was bruchidae.
posted by Decimask at 5:24 PM on January 11, 2010

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