Analysis of the Courtship Behavior of the Navel Orangeworm, Amyelois transitella (Walker) (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae), with a Commentary on Methods for the Analysis of Sequences of Behavioral Transitions


The courtship behavior of the navel orangeworm, Amyelois transitella, was examined in a wind tunnel. Sixty nine courtship sequences were analyzed and successful sequences divided into two categories: rapid courtship sequences, which involved few breaks in contact, short or no periods of male/female chasing and lasted <10 s between initial contact and mating; and prolonged courtship sequences, which involved many breaks in contact, extended periods of male/female chasing and lasted >10 s. Fifty six (81%) courtships were successful (50.7% rapid courtship and 30.4% prolonged courtship); the remaining 13 (18.8%) sequences were failed courtships. Of failed courtships, 9 (13.0%) were due to males losing contact with females during courtship chases and 4 (5.8%) due to females flying away immediately after male contact. Of all courtship sequences involving a break in contact during a chase, 38.5% resulted in an unsuccessful mating attempt. These findings contrast with previous studies of the courtship behavior of the navel orangeworm, potentially indicating that the type of bioassay used to study courtship may have a large effect on the behavioral sequences displayed. We evaluate several diagnostic techniques for the analysis of sequences of behavioral transitions.


Navel orangeworm moth Insecta behavioral sequences courtship mating wind tunnel 



Dr. L.P.S. Keunen generously provided the stock used to initiate our colony of NOW and the rearing procedures. T. Berhane supervised colony maintenance. We thank Drs. R. Beaver and K. Haynes for statistical advice, and Dr. P. L. Phelan for his valuable comments on the manuscript. This work was supported by Paramount Farms, Inc. and the California Pistachio Commission. We thank Brad Higbee of Paramount Farms for his interest in this project and his suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EntomologyUniversity of CaliforniaRiversideUSA

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