Published online by Cambridge University Press: 15 December 2016
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.