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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

  • G.A. Avila (a1) (a2), T.M. Withers (a2) (a3) and G.I. Holwell (a4)
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.

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*Author for correspondence Phone: +64 9 925 7198 Fax: +64 9 925 7001 E-mail: gonzalo.avila@plantandfood.co.nz
References
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Bulletin of Entomological Research
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