Journal of Insect Behavior

, Volume 26, Issue 5, pp 695–707 | Cite as

Visual and Olfactory Female-Borne Cues Evoke Male Courtship in the Aphid Parasitoid Aphidius colemani Viereck (Hymenoptera: Braconidae)

  • Giovanni Benelli
  • Giulia Giunti
  • Russell H. Messing
  • Mark G. Wright


We investigated the courtship and mating behavior of the pan-tropical polyphagous endoparasitoid Aphidius colemani Viereck. The courtship and mating displays, the magnitude of male-male sexual approaches and the role of female-borne cues evoking male courtship behavior were quantified. The sequence of events leading to copulation in this parasitoid did not differ from that found for other braconids. Females refused to copulate more than once. Same-sex courtships were observed among males and their possible role in an adaptive context is discussed. Olfactory female-borne cues played a key role in eliciting the courtship responses of males. Males were attracted by freshly dead females, but not by dead females soaked in hexane, nor by visual cues from females alone. Intense male wing fanning behavior was elicited by crushed abdomens of virgin females, suggesting that the female abdomen is the source of a short-distance pheromone crucial in evoking male courtship. Further studies are required to clarify the exact nature of the chemicals involved.


Aphis gossypii biological control mass-rearing Myzus persicae parasitic wasp wing fanning 



We thank four anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments on an earlier version of the manuscript, Leyla Valdivia Kaufman, Elsie Burbano, Roshan Manadhar, Sam Messing and Amber Tateno (Department of Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences, University of Hawaii at Manoa, USA) for their kind assistance and suggestions during the experiments, Angelo Canale and Alfio Raspi (Entomology Section—Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment, University of Pisa, Italy) for their insightful comments during the preparation of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Giovanni Benelli
    • 1
    • 2
  • Giulia Giunti
    • 1
    • 2
  • Russell H. Messing
    • 3
  • Mark G. Wright
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Agriculture, Food and EnvironmentUniversity of PisaPisaItaly
  2. 2.Department of Plant and Environmental Protection SciencesUniversity of Hawaii at ManoaHonoluluUSA
  3. 3.Kauai Agricultural Research CenterUniversity of Hawaii at ManoaKapaaUSA

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