Courtship acoustics and mating in Cotesia, a genus of parasitoid wasps

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Title: Courtship acoustics and mating in Cotesia, a genus of parasitoid wasps
Author: Joyce, Andrea Lee
Abstract: Cotesia are parasitoid wasps (Hymenoptera : Braconidae ) that are used for biological control of pest moths (Lepidoptera : Noctuidae , Pyralidae ) that damage agricultural crops . This dissertation investigated courtship acoustics and mating , and their relevance to biological control , in members of the Cotesia flavipes species complex , and a noncomplex member , Cotesia marginiventris . The first study investigated whether courtship acoustics were species specific for two members of the Cotesia flavipes complex , C . flavipes and C . sesamiae , and for C . marginiventris . During courtship , male Cotesia fan their wings and produce low amplitude sounds and substrate vibrations . The airborne and substrate components of courtship were similar within a species . However , the courtship acoustics of each species was distinct . The duration and frequency of several courtship acoustic components distinguished each species , while some components did not differ among species . The second study investigated mating success and transmission of courtship vibrations on natural and artificial rearing substrates for Cotesia marginiventris . Mating success was measured on plastic , glass , corn and bean leaves , and chiffon fabric . Mating success was lowest on plastic and glass , intermediate on corn and bean leaves , and highest on chiffon . Substrate influenced transmission of courtship vibrations . Durations of courtship vibrations were longer on corn , bean and chiffon than on plastic . Frequency modulation occurred on corn , bean and chiffon , and amplitude was greatest on chiffon . The mating success of normal and dealated males was higher on chiffon than on glass , suggesting that courtship communication relied in part on substrate vibrations . The third study examined female and male mate choice in a solitary and a gregarious species , C . marginiventris and C . flavipes , respectively . Females of the solitary species , C . marginiventris , mated more frequently with large than small males , and this did not appear to be the result of male competition . Male choice for female size was not apparent in C . marginiventris . Females of the gregarious parasitoid , C . flavipes , mated with large or small males with similar frequencies , and male -male competition was not observed . In the male choice experiment , C . flavipes males attempted copulation and mated more with smaller females , and smaller females accepted males more than large females .
URI: http : / /hdl .handle .net /1969 .1 /ETD -TAMU -1503
Date: 2009-05-15


Courtship acoustics and mating in Cotesia, a genus of parasitoid wasps. Available electronically from http : / /hdl .handle .net /1969 .1 /ETD -TAMU -1503 .

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