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Courtship and mating behaviour in the parasitoid wasp Cotesia urabae (Hymenoptera: Braconidae): mate location and the influence of competition and body size on male mating success

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 December 2016

G.A. Avila
Affiliation:
The New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research Limited, Mt Albert, Private Bag 92169, Auckland 1142, New Zealand Better Border Biosecurity, New Zealand
T.M. Withers
Affiliation:
Better Border Biosecurity, New Zealand Scion (New Zealand Forest Research Institute), Private Bag 3020, Rotorua 3046, New Zealand
G.I. Holwell
Affiliation:
School of Biological Sciences, The University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland 1142, New Zealand
Corresponding

Abstract

Cotesia urabae is a solitary larval endoparasitoid that was introduced into New Zealand in 2011 as a classical biological control agent against Uraba lugens. A detailed knowledge of its reproductive biology is required to optimize mass rearing efficiency. In this study, the courtship and mating behaviour of C. urabae is described and investigated from a series of experiments, conducted to understand the factors that influence male mating success. Cotesia urabae males exhibited a high attraction to virgin females but not mated females, whereas females showed no attraction to either virgin or mated males. Male mating success was highest in the presence of a male competitor. Also, the time to mate was shorter and copulation duration was longer when a male competitor was present. Larger male C. urabae had greater mating success than smaller males when paired together with a single female. This knowledge can now be utilized to improve mass rearing methods of C. urabae for the future.

Type
Research Papers
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2016 

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Courtship and mating behaviour in the parasitoid wasp Cotesia urabae (Hymenoptera: Braconidae): mate location and the influence of competition and body size on male mating success
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