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Courtship and Mating in Lariophagus Distinguendus (Först.) Kurdj. (Hymenoptera, Pteromalidae)

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image of Netherlands Journal of Zoology
For more content, see Archives Néerlandaises de Zoologie (Vol 1-17) and Animal Biology (Vol 53 and onwards).

The pteromalid Lariophagus distinguendus is a parasite of larvae of, among others, the common granary weevil, Sitophilus granarius. In laboratory cultures maintained at 25° C and 60-70% r.h. it takes 17-40 days for development from the egg to the adult stage. The present paper deals with courtship behaviour of this wasp. The male probably uses chemical cues for locating the female. Before mounting, the male frequently vibrates its wings and raises the abdomen. Following mounting, the male proceeds by taking up a well-defined courtship position. Courtship behaviour proper involves movements with the antennae, head, mouthparts, front tarsi, and wings. The female signals her willingness to copulate by adopting a characteristic posture in which she exposes the genitalia. Copulation then follows immediately. Virgin females appear to be receptive to male courtship almost without an exception. Fertilised females are not receptive any longer. A peculiar category of females, so called pseudo-virgins, is described. Pseudo-virgins can be created experimentally by exposing a female to the stimuli of a male courtship but then prevent a copulation. Such females adopt the copulation posture for exactly the same duration as copulating females do. Pseudo-virgins are no longer receptive following the treatment. Some pilot experiments are described in which female models are used for studying courtship behaviour. Models appear to be quite successful and remain attractive over long periods (several months). Males distinguish readily between male and female models. Courtship behaviour of Lariophagus distinguendus is compared with courtship of some other species, viz., Mormoniella vitripennis, Stenomalina liparae (both pteromalids), and Pseudeucoila bochei (a cynipid). Similarities and differences are discussed.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Zoology, University of Leiden, The Netherlands


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