Mating Behavior and Female-Produced Pheromone Use in Tropical Sod Webworm (Lepidoptera: Crambidae)

Robert L. Meagher, Nancy D. Epsky, Ron Cherry


Research was initiated to develop a pheromone-based monitoring system for the tropical sod webworm, Herpetogramma phaeopteralis (Guenée). A laboratory rearing procedure was developed to produce individuals for field tests and behavioral bioassays. Virgin females placed in Unitraps in the field attracted and captured males for 8 d, while no males were captured in unbaited traps. Total male capture ranged from 1 to 24, and there was a slight decrease in capture as females aged. Laboratory mating behavior studies suggested that mating occurs later in the scotophase. Males responded to virgin females in a linear olfactometer throughout the dark period (scotophase), although there was a trend for higher male activity late in scotophase. There was no observed calling behavior, and adults exhibit simple mating behavior. Lack of both calling posture among virgin females and periodicity of male response will make it difficult to determine the optimal time periods for pheromone production, which would facilitate the collection and subsequent identification of pheromone components.

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