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COURTSHIP OF THE TWO FEMALE MORPHS OF MELITTOBIA DIGITATA (HYMENOPTERA: EULOPHIDAE)

Authors
Publisher
Florida Entomological Society
Publication Date
Disciplines
  • Medicine

Abstract

Abstract Courtship of sib-mating Melittobia digitata Dahms, a parasitoid of solitary wasps and bees, is reviewed, described, and quantified for 125 virgins of the non-dispersing brachypterous female (BF) morph paired with 24 experienced males, and for 158 virgins of the dispersing macropterous female (MF) morph paired with 21 males. Males performed 1-5 courtship bouts with both morphs; about half of all successful matings in both morphs occurred after a single bout. Depending on number of bouts performed, mean courtship durations ranged from 47-268 sec for MFs and 59-277 sec for BFs. Courtship success rates were greater for BF couples (80%) than for MF couples (57%). Compared to BF couples, MF couples were more apt to undergo multiple bouts. Results are interpreted in the context of the morphs" life history and the costs/benefits of alternatives. Failure to initiate any courtship during the 15-min observation period (22% for MF pairs, 21% for BF pairs) appeared to be due to apparent lack of interest or to occasional male violence toward females. Possible explanations for the latter, including mistaken identity, odor contamination, and nutritional stress are discussed.

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