Role of visual and olfactory cues in the mating behaviour of Psyttalia concolor(Hymenoptera: Braconidae)


Abstract: Psyttalia concolor (Szépligeti) is a koinobiont, endophagous, solitary parasitoid ofTephritidae larvae (Diptera). Mechanisms that regulate courtship and mating behaviour in thisparasitoid are poorly known but could be of great interest for the management of the braconid inthe open field. For this reason, we set up a research aimed at determining the role of the cuesused by male P. concolor in courtship and mating sequence. The optimal male response has beenachieved when a complex of chemical and physical cues was simultaneously perceived. In detail,in presence of living or freshly dead females, both virgin and mated males exhibit a courtshipbehaviour including four main steps: antennal drumming, arrestment and antennal waving, wingfluttering and copulation attempts. The preference of female’s ovipositor plays a role as a visualcue for male’s attraction: indeed males exhibit significantly less courtship behavioural reactionsin presence of ovipositor-less females. No effect of mating status on perception of visual andchemical cues in courtship and mating behaviour was detected in both genders. Investigationsaimed at the characterization of acoustic cues and chemical attractants possibly involved incourtship and mating behaviour in this species are in progress.

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