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item Cheng, Ling-lan
item Howard, Ralph
item Campbell, James - Jim
item Charlton, Ralph
item Nechols, James
item Ramaswamy, Sonny

Submitted to: Journal of Insect Behavior
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/18/2003
Publication Date: 3/1/2004
Citation: Cheng, L., Howard, R.W., Campbell, J.F., Charlton, R.E., Nechols, J.R., Ramaswamy, S. 2004. Mating behavior of Cephalonomia tarsalis (ashmead)(hymenoptera: bethylidae) and the effect of female mating frequence on offspring production. Journal of Insect Behavior 17: 227-245.

Interpretive Summary: The courtship, mating and reproductive behavior of a parasitic wasp used in the biological control of the stored product pest, the sawtoothed grain beetle, is described. Females mate several times within the first three days of their adult life, but the number of offspring they produce does not seem to be related to the number of times they mate. This information will be useful in designing biological control programs with this parasitic wasp.

Technical Abstract: The courtship behavior of Cephalonomia tarsalis (Ashmead), a solitary semi-ectoparasitoid of Oryzaephilus surinamensis (Linnaeus) (Coleoptera: Silvanidae), was investigated in the laboratory. Courtship behavior includes a series of stereotypic movements. Males play the most active role, executing the majority of courtship action, and females respond with relatively limited observable behaviors. Males typically keep antennae still during encounters with females prior to mounting, which may be correlated with recognition of the female's sexual status. After mounting, males display a series of movements on females, such as antennae touching female's antennae, antennae or mouth touching female's head or thorax, and walking around on female, which may serve to stimulate females towards increased receptivity. Females signal receptivity by assuming a stereotypical posture of remaining stationary, with head down, and antennae still in front of the body. The male then inserts his aedeagus and the pair copulates. After an average of 40.4 seconds of copulation, females signal the end of copulation by waving the antennae, and moving away from the copulation site. Males continue copulating for a short time after females start moving, but dismount soon thereafter. After dismounting, the two wasps move away from each other immediately, and they typically begin grooming. Neither males nor females exhibit mating preference based on mate's mating status in both choice and no-choice tests. The male is polygynous and the mated female can mate multiple times within the first three days after starting oviposition. However, female mating frequency does not affect the production of female progeny.