International Journal of Tropical Insect Science

, Volume 35, Issue 3, pp 103–116 | Cite as

The recently described parasitoid braconid wasp, Napo townsendi (Hymenoptera: Braconidae: Euphorinae: Dinocampini), forms leks and deters predators in the Ecuadorian cloud forest

  • Willard S. RobinsonEmail author
  • Delina E. Dority
  • Andy J. Kulikowski
  • Scott R. Shaw


In the Ecuadorian cloud forest, males of the parasitoid braconid wasp Napo townsendi Shaw displayed facultative lekking, appearing both singly and in groups of 2–7 on the leaf tops of various plant species. To attract females, they constantly employed a stereotypical, spread-winged calling behaviour, apparently releasing a sex pheromone combed from the lateral metasomal exocrine glands and applied to the wings and hind legs. Aggregated males used the same posture in conspecific agonistic displays, often leading to physical fighting. While female wasps were attracted to and mated with displaying singletons, they also made a choice among aggregated males. When females approached, males vibrated their wings in a brief courtship and mounted. Details of copulation behaviour, which lasted on an average of 3–4 min, are described. Without apparent physical weaponry, the displaying wasps successfully warded off attacks from an assortment of predatory arthropods, particularly salticid spiders. We present case studies of repeated unsuccessful predation attempts by salticids. Here, we postulate that calling and release of sex pheromone may double as both an intrasexual agonistic display and an aposematic advisory to predators that the wasps employ a chemical defence.

Key words

agonism aggregation Braconidae courtship defensive behaviour lek mating behaviour Napo townsendi pheromones Ecuador 


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Copyright information

© ICIPE 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Willard S. Robinson
    • 1
    Email author
  • Delina E. Dority
    • 2
  • Andy J. Kulikowski
    • 2
  • Scott R. Shaw
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of BiologyCasper CollegeCasperUSA
  2. 2.Department of Zoology and Physiology (3166)University of WyomingLaramieUSA
  3. 3.Department of Ecosystem Science and Management (3354)University of WyomingLaramieUSA

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