, Volume 78, Issue 1, pp 121–130 | Cite as

Evidence for an oviposition-deterring pheromone in Tephritis bardanae (Schrank) (Diptera: Tephritidae)

  • N. A. Straw
Original Papers


Female Tephritis bardanae (Schrank) exhibit a characteristic ovipositor-dragging behaviour immediately after laying eggs into a flowerbud of Arctium minus (Hill) Bernh. To establish whether this behaviour is associated with an oviposition-deterring pheromone (ODP), female T. bardanae were presented with clean, unattacked flowerbuds and fly activity was monitored using video recording equipment. The distribution of oviposition and fly behaviour were analysed. Avoidance of attacked buds was revealed by the oviposition pattern becoming overdispersed. Spacing out of eggs continued until, on average, each bud contained one egg-batch, after which the distribution became more random or clumped. Analysis of fly behaviour showed that attacked and unattacked buds received similar numbers of visits, but fewer oviposition attempts were made on attacked buds. This behaviour was consistent with use of a contact pheromone deterring repeated oviposition and applied to the bud surface during ovipositor-dragging. Avoidance of attacked buds should increase the efficiency of resource use by T. bardanae populations in the field; however, distributions of egg-batches in flowerhead samples collected from Monks Wood NNR, Cambridgeshire, during 1983–1985, were highly clumped and did not provide supportive evidence. This suggests that the effectiveness of oviposition deterrence in the field is reduced, because the active life of ODP under natural conditions is short, and/or because wild females frequently experience high oviposition drive due to scarcity of suitable flowerbuds.

Key words

Tephritidae Oviposition-deterring pheromone Flowerheads 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. A. Straw
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Applied BiologyUniversity of CambridgeUK

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