Mate location in Pseudococcus calceolariae, a primary pest of grape in New Zealand

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Mate location in Pseudococcus calceolariae, a primary pest of grape in New Zealand

Description

Abstract: Pseudococcus calceolariae (Maskell) (Hemiptera Pseudococcidae), is an important pest of various crops, grape included, causing berry contamination with honeydew and sooty mold and being a vector of the closterovirus associated with grapevine leafroll disease. The identification of P. calceolariae sex pheromone has opened new options for monitoring and control with pheromone-based control strategies, as in the cases of Planococcus ficus and P. citri. In this paper, we analyzed the capability of males to fertilize multiple females and the mate location strategy carried out by P. calceolariae males to find the females. Our results highlighted that a P. calceolariae male can successfully mate and fertilize up to 13 females; the copulation time in subsequent mating events and the time between copulations did not change over time, but the number of matings per day significantly decreased over three days. Furthermore, we tested the attractiveness of different loadings of female sex pheromone on males in flight tunnel conditions. Males constantly exposed to 16 rubber septa loaded with the female sex pheromone showed a significant decrease in female detection at 1 and 30 μg loadings. Moreover, in the control about 9.2-fold more of the released males successfully detected the female in the center of the array of blank septa without pheromone. Detection of females in the control was significantly higher than of females surrounded by the rubber septa arrays with pheromone. Mating only occurred in the control arrays. This study represents a useful step to developing pheromone-based strategies for the control of citrophilous mealybugs.

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