The effects of body size, age, feeding and mating status, conspecific volatiles from live adults, synthetic aggregation pheromone, and a pheromone synergist, ethyl acetate, on the mating behavior of red palm weevil, Rhynchophorus ferrugineus Olivier, were investigated. To evaluate these factors, variables such as mating latency, frequency and duration, and refractory period were assessed. While both, body size and age, influenced the mating behavior, the latter showed a stronger effect. The large males recorded frequent and longer matings, whereas the young males outperformed the old weevils in all the studied variables. The difference in body size or age of females showed a limited effect. After 72 h without food, the males showed a significant decline in mating frequency and duration, and refractory period. Mating status showed comparatively stronger effects on mating variables. In the case of females, mating status emerged as the most important factor affecting four out of five variables. The volatiles from the males, grouped males and females, and synthetic aggregation pheromone both alone and in combination with ethyl acetate triggered mating initiation, propelled mating frequency, prolonged total mating duration, and reduced the refractory period. However, the presence of females or ethyl acetate alone was a weak mating stimulator.
aggregation pheromone conspecific volatiles body size age starvation mating status
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We thank KSU – Deanship of Scientific Research, Research Chair Program, King Saud University, Saudi Arabia.
This research was supported by Grants-in-aid for Scientific Research No. 11-AGR1477-02, King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology – National Plan for Science, Technology and Innovation (KACST-NSTIP) (MAARIFAH), Saudi Arabia.
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