Journal of Insect Behavior

, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 389–403 | Cite as

Nocturnal Calling Behavior in Mantids

  • César Gemeno
  • Jordi Claramunt
  • Josep Dasca


Females of Mantis religiosa and Empusa pennata were video taped for several 24 h periods to determine if they showed behaviors associated with pheromone release. In the photophase the abdomen of both species was motionless and rested in continuous contact with the wings. However, at the beginning of the scotophase the females bent the abdomen ventrally so that the space between the abdomen and the wings increased significantly with respect to the daytime posture. Calling behavior (abdominal bending) was maintained throughout the 8 h scotophase and ended abruptly at lights on. Females of M. religiosa did not start calling until they were 30 days of age. Calling disappeared in mated females, but it reappeared two weeks later. Males stayed motionless in response to the odors emitted by other males or by noncalling females, but walked when a calling female was placed in the air flow. These observations suggest that female mantids bend their abdomens at night to release a sex pheromone. The adaptive function of nocturnal sex pheromone release in sexually cannibalistic species that rely strongly on visual cues for mating is discussed.


Mantis religiosa Empusa pennata sex pheromone periodicity cannibalism 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Abed, D., Cheviet, P., Farine, J. P., Bonnard, O., Le Quéré, J. L., and Brossut, R. (1993). Calling behaviour of female Periplaneta americana: Behavioural analysis and identification of the pheromone source. J. Insect Physiol. 39: 709–720.Google Scholar
  2. Bradbury, J. W., and Vehrencamp, S. L. (1998). Principles of Animal Communication, Sinauer Associates, Sunderland, MA.Google Scholar
  3. Cumming, G. S. (1996). Mantis movements by night and the interactions of sympatric bats and mantises. Can. J. Zool. 74: 1771–1774.Google Scholar
  4. Dietz, L. L., Nalepa, C., and Klass, K. D. (2004). Phylogeny of the Dictyoptera re-examined (Insecta). Entomol. Abhandlungen 61: 69–91.Google Scholar
  5. Edmunds, M. (1975). Courtship, mating and possible sex pheromones in three species of Mantodea. Entomol. Mon. Mag. 111: 53–57.Google Scholar
  6. Gemeno, C., and Schal, C. (2004). Sex pheromones of cockroaches. In Cardé, R. T., and Millar, J. (eds.), Advances in Insect Chemical Ecology, Cambridge University Press, New York, pp. 179–247.Google Scholar
  7. Gemeno, C., Snook, K., Benda, N., and Schal, C. (2003). Behavioral and electrophysiological evidence for volatile sex pheromones in Parcoblatta wood cockroaches. J. Chem. Ecol. 29: 37–54.Google Scholar
  8. Hales, R. A., and Breed, M. D. (1983). Female calling and reproductive behavior in the brown banded cockroach, Supella longipalpa (F.) (Orthoptera: Blattellidae). Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 76: 239–241.Google Scholar
  9. Hurd, L. E. (1999). Ecology of preying mantids. In Prete, F. E., Wells, H., Wells, P. H., and Hurd, L. E. (eds.), The Praying Mantids, Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, pp. 43–60.Google Scholar
  10. Hurd, L. E., Prete, F. R., Jones, T. H., Singh, T. B., Jason, C. O., and Portman, R. T. (2004). First identification of a putative sex pheromone in a praying mantid. J. Chem. Ecol. 30: 155–166.Google Scholar
  11. Kelner-Pillault, S. (1957). Attirance sexuelle chez mantis religiosa [Orth.]. Bull. Soc. Ent. Fr. 62: 9–11.Google Scholar
  12. Lawrence, S. E. (1992). Sexual cannibalism in the preying mantid, Mantis religiosa: A field study. Anim. Behav. 43: 569–583.Google Scholar
  13. Lehner, P. N. (1996). Handbook of Ethological Methods, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.Google Scholar
  14. Liang, D., and Schal, C. (1993). Calling behavior of the female German cockroach, Blattella germanica (Dictyoptera: Blattellidae). J. Insect Behav. 6: 603–614.Google Scholar
  15. Maxwell, M. R. (1999). Mating behavior. In Prete, F. E., Wells, H., Wells, P. H., and Hurd, L. E. (eds.), The Praying Mantids, Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, pp. 69–89.Google Scholar
  16. Robinson, M. H., and Robinson, B. (1979). By dawn’s early light: Matutinal mating and sex attractants in a neotropical mantid. Science 205: 825–827.Google Scholar
  17. Schal, C., Liang, D., Hazarika, L. K., Charlton, R. E., and Roelofs, W. L. (1992). Site of pheromone production in female Supella longipalpa (Dictyoptera: Blattellidae): Behavioral, electrophysiological, and morphological evidence. Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 85: 605–611.Google Scholar
  18. Smith, A. F., and Schal, C. (1991). Circadian calling behavior of the adult female brown-banded cockroach, Supella longipalpa (F.) (Dictyoptera: Blattellidae). J. Insect Behav. 4: 1–14.Google Scholar
  19. Sreng, L. (1993). Cockroach mating behaviors, sex pheromones and abdominal glands (Dictyoptera: Blaberidae). J. Insect Behav. 6: 715–735.Google Scholar
  20. Yager, D. D. (1999). Hearing. In Prete, F. E., Wells, H., Wells, P. H., and Hurd, L. E. (eds.), The Praying Mantids, Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, pp. 93–113.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departament de Producció Vegetal i Ciencia ForestalUniversitat de LleidaLleidaSpain

Personalised recommendations