Journal of Pest Science

, Volume 87, Issue 3, pp 429–439 | Cite as

Mating behaviour of female Tuta absoluta (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae): polyandry increases reproductive output

  • Marina S. Lee
  • Ramon Albajes
  • Matilde Eizaguirre
Original Paper


Tuta absoluta (Meyrick) is an important pest of tomato. Mass trapping of males has seldom proved an effective control measure, probably due to the pest’s reproductive biology. There are few studies on female mating behaviour. For this reason, this study aimed to determine female mating frequency and its effects on reproductive output and female longevity; the effects of male mating status on female reproductive output and longevity and the fate of the spermatophore inside the bursa copulatrix. The studied population of T. absoluta mated only once a day at the beginning of the photophase, females remated frequently and can be classified as polyandrous. The refractory period of both T. absoluta males and females was very short and was not observed in many cases. The lack of refractory period could be due to the female’s rapid metabolism of the spermatophore thus allowing the female to reduce the intermating interval and mate again. Remating had direct benefits for T. absoluta females increasing their fecundity, fertility and longevity. These benefits were greater when females could remate to virgin males instead of to the same male. In this species, therefore, polyandry has direct benefits for the female. The occurrence of polyandry together with other known or unknown reasons can explain the failure of control methods based on pheromones in the open greenhouses in some tomato-growing areas.


Female remating Fertility Oviposition Pheromone control Tomato leafminer 



We wish to thank Dr. C López for help with the experiments, Dr. A Jauset and J Goñi who helped with the microphotographs, Dr. R Gabarra for her advice and guidance to establish the first Tuta absoluta rearing in our laboratory, R Berruezo for supplying the insects and J Clariana and JM Forcades for letting us use their farms.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marina S. Lee
    • 1
  • Ramon Albajes
    • 1
  • Matilde Eizaguirre
    • 1
  1. 1.Departament de Producció Vegetal i Ciència Forestal, Agrotecnio CenterUniversity of LleidaLleidaSpain

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