Lekking Behavior of Anastrepha fraterculus (Diptera: Tephritidae)

Diego Segura, Natalia Petit-Marty, Roberta Sciurano, Teresa Vera, Graciela Calcagno, Armando Allinghi, Paula Gomez Cendra, Jorge Cladera, Juan Vilardi

Abstract


Anastrepha fraterculus (Wiedemann) (Diptera: Tephritidae) displays a lek mating system. Males form groups in which they simultaneously display signals (acoustical, visual, or chemical) to attract females with the purpose of mating. Females visit the lek and choose among signaling and courting males to mate. Scarce information is available in A. fraterculus about the main factors involved in female choice and the behavior of displaying males. This information could be important within the context of pest control programs with a sterile insect technique (SIT) component, because departures from normal sexual behavior caused by artificial rearing could affect males’ performance in the field. In this study we assessed A. fraterculus male behavior within the leks and analyzed the importance of behavioral and morphological traits on their copulatory success. The existence of preferred places for lek formation was evaluated in field cages with trees inside and analyzed by dividing the trees in sectors according to a 3-dimensional system. Males were individually weighed, marked, and observed every 15 min. Morphometric and behavioral characteristics of successful and unsuccessful males were compared. Most successful males grouped in a region of the tree characterized by the highest light intensity in the first 2 h of the morning. Results showed that pheromone calling activity is positively associated with copulatory success. Copulations were more frequent for males calling inside the lek, indicating that pheromone calling activity and presence in the lek are key factors for copulatory success. A positive association between copulatory success and eye length was found; some characteristics of the face were also associated with copula duration and latency.

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