Oecologia

, Volume 99, Issue 1, pp 88–94

Odour-mediated foraging by yellowjacket wasps (Hymenoptera: Vespidae): predation on leks of pheromone-calling Mediterranean fruit fly males (Diptera: Tephritidae)

  • J. Hendrichs
  • B. I. Katsoyannos
  • V. Wornoayporn
  • M. A. Hendrichs
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/BF00317087

Cite this article as:
Hendrichs, J., Katsoyannos, B.I., Wornoayporn, V. et al. Oecologia (1994) 99: 88. doi:10.1007/BF00317087

Abstract

Predation is probably the most important male mortality factor in insect species with courtship displays that render males performing them conspicuous targets of predators. Sexually active Mediterranean fruit fly males, Ceratitis capitata (Wied.), aggregate in leks, where they participate in agonistic encounters and engage in visual, acoustic and pheromone-calling displays to attract receptive females. The objective of this study was to assess: a) whether sexually displaying C. capitata males in leks inside host and non-host foliage are subject to predation by the most prominent predators yellow-jacket wasps, Vespula germanica (F.), and if so, b) whether olfactory, visual or auditive stimuli are used by foraging wasps in locating male C. capitata prey. Studies were carried out in a citrus orchard and surroundings on the island of Chios, Greece. Observations were conducted using perforated containers hung within mulberry, fig or citrus foliage. Living C. capitata flies of different sex and either mature or immature were placed inside. Our results show that the yellowjacket wasps have learned to associate the presence of sexually active medfly males aggregated in leks with their prey's pheromone (kairomone). Foraging wasps, flying through the crowns of host trees, responded to the odour source of C. capitata male pheromone by approaching from downwind. Even inside dense citrus tree foliage, wasps keyed in on aggregations of pheromone-calling males using olfactory stimuli. Stimuli of visual and acoustic male signalling were only used at close range, after having followed the pheromone plume close to its source. Visual cues played a greater role in directing wasp foraging under more open and exposed host foliage conditions. Odour-based foraging of wasps inside host foliage in the mid-morning hours, when medfly male lekking activities peak, shifted gradually to a more visual-based host fruit patrolling in the afternoons to capture ovipositing and feeding medfly females. On ripe fruit, particularly fig, V. germanica visual prey hunting also included the capture of feeding medfly males, other feeding Diptera, as well as medfly larvae extracted from wasp-made perforations in the fruit.

Key words

Predation Vespula germanica Ceratitis capitata Lek Kairomone 

Copyright information

© Springer Verlag 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Hendrichs
    • 1
  • B. I. Katsoyannos
    • 2
  • V. Wornoayporn
    • 1
  • M. A. Hendrichs
    • 3
  1. 1.Entomology UnitIAEA LaboratoriesSeiberdorfAustria
  2. 2.Department of AgricultureUniversity of ThessalonikiThessalonikiGreece
  3. 3.Institute of ZoologyUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria

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