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Laboratory experiments on the disruption of mating in the egyptian cotton leafworm spodoptera littoralis lepidoptera noctuidae by excesses of female pheromones



Laboratory experiments on the disruption of mating in the egyptian cotton leafworm spodoptera littoralis lepidoptera noctuidae by excesses of female pheromones



Bulletin of Entomological Research 70(4): 673-684



The courtship of S. littoralis (Boisd.) was studied in closed cages containing an excess of the female sex pheromones (Z,E)-9,11-tetradecadienyl acetate (III) or (Z)-9-tetradecenyl acetate (IIA). High levels of III or IIA were obtained by using polyethylene vials loaded with 5, 1 or 0.1 mg of pheromone. Vials containing 10 or 1 .mu.g released low levels of pheromone. Excess pheromone reduced mating; at high levels of III and IIA, only 15% and 42% of pairs, respectively, mated, compared with 92% of control pairs. Of courtships in control cages, 45% did not end in copulation; in 1/2 of these the female rejected the male by giving a rapid flick of the wings. An examination of unsuccessful courtships showed that an excess of III or IIA disrupted female courtship behavior. At the higher levels of pheromone no female wing-lifted to show acceptance of the male and only a few rejected the male by wing-flicking. Significantly more females took to flight in cages containing III, while in cages with IIA females either took to flight or remained still. These changes in behavior were still apparent in courtships where the female was calling and the male gave a full brush display. Both III and IIA block olfactory reception of the male brush pheromone. An excess of either pheromone increased the proportion of male courtships of noncalling females. IIA had no other effect on male behavior, but III also significantly reduced full brush displays during courtship, increased the period of flight preceding hovering and increased partial brush extension during flights that did not lead to courtship.

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Accession: 005787893

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