Journal of Insect Behavior

, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 105–116 | Cite as

Male Accessory Gland Secretions Modulate Female Post-Mating Behavior in the Moth Spodoptera litura

  • Jin-Feng Yu
  • Cong Li
  • Jin Xu
  • Jian-Hong Liu
  • Hui Ye


The study of male insects’ accessory gland (MAG) secretions will promote our understanding of reproductive strategies and their evolution, and will facilitate the development of new approaches for pest control. Here, we carried out a series of experiments to determine the functions of MAG secretions on modulating female post-mating behavior in the moth Spodoptera litura. Results showed that females injected with MAG secretions called and mated significantly less than controls in the night after treatment, which were independent of mechanical stimulation during mating and the presence of sperm. However, a successful mating resulted in a longer loss in sexual receptivity (lasting to the second night after mating). This study also demonstrated that MAG secretions not only triggered oviposition but also promoted egg development, which also were not dependent on mechanical stimulation during mating and the presence of sperm. MAG secretions also showed negative effect on female longevity, which may be because MAG secretions stimulate females to allocate more resources to egg development and oviposition, leaving fewer resources for survival. Results of this study also suggest that oviposition behaviors incur energy costs. The hypothesis that virgin females may conduct oosorption to prolong longevity is not supported.


Spodoptera litura male accessory gland secretions post-mating behavior female sexual receptivity egg production 



Research reported here was supported by projects from the National Natural Science Foundation Program of P.R. China (31160434 and 31260105), and the Department of Science and Technology of Yunnan Province of P.R. China (2011FZ004) and the Department of Education of Yunnan Province, P.R. China (2011Z110).


  1. Armes NJ, Wightman JA, Jadhav DR, Rao GVR (1997) Status of insecticide resistance in Spodoptera litura in Andhra Pradesh, India. Pestic Sci 50:240–248CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Avila FW, Ram KR, Qazi MCB, Wolfner MF (2010) Sex peptide is required for the efficient release of stored sperm in mated Drosophila females. Genetics 186:595–600PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Baer B, Maile R, Schmid-Hempel P, Morgan DE, Jones GR (2000) Chemistry of a mating plug in bumblebees. J Chem Ecol 26:1869–1875CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Calvert I, Corbet SA (1973) Reproductive maturation and pheromone release in the flour moth Anagasta kuehniella (Zeller). J Entomol Ser A Physiol Behav 47:201–209Google Scholar
  5. Crudgington HS, Siva-Jothy MT (2000) Genital damage, kicking and early death—the battle of the sexes takes a sinister turn in the bean weevil. Nature 407:855–856PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Daniel WW (1990) Applied nonparametric statistics. PWS-Kent, BostonGoogle Scholar
  7. Danielsson I (1998) Mechanisms of sperm competition in insects. Ann Zool Fenn 35:241–257Google Scholar
  8. Darwin CR (1859) On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. John Murray, LondonGoogle Scholar
  9. Dixson A (2002) Sexual selection by cryptic female choice and the evolution of primate sexuality. Evol Anthropol 11:195–199CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Eberhard WG (1996) Female control: sexual selection by cryptic female choice. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  11. Edwards RL (1954) The effect of diet on egg maturation and resorption in Mormoniella vitripennis (Hymenoptera, Pleromalidae). Q J Microsc Sci 95:459–468Google Scholar
  12. Fedina TY (2007) Cryptic female choice during spermatophore transfer in Tribolium castaneum (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae). J Insect Physiol 53:93–98PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Foster SP, Howard AJ, Ayers RH (1995) Age-related-changes in reproductive characters of 4 species of Tortricid moths. N Z J Zool 22:271–280CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Fukuda T, Wakamura S, Arakaki N, Yamagishi K (2007) Parasitism, development and adult longevity of the egg parasitoid Telenomus nawai (Hymenoptera: Scelionidae) on the eggs of Spodoptera litura (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). Bull Entomol Res 97:185–190PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Giebultowicz JM, Raina AK, Uebel EC, Ridgway RL (1991) Two-step regulation of sex-pheromone decline in mated gypsy moth females. Arch Insect Biochem 16:95–105CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gillott C (2003) Male accessory gland secretions: modulators of female reproductive physiology and behavior. Annu Rev Entomol 48:163–184PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Heifetz Y, Tram U, Wolfner MF (2001) Male contributions to egg production: the role of accessory gland products and sperm in Drosophila melanogaster. Proc Roy Soc Lond B Bio 268:175–180CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hotzy C, Arnqvist G (2009) Sperm competition favors harmful males in seed beetles. Curr Biol 19:404–407PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kamimura Y (2007) Twin intromittent organs of Drosophila for traumatic insemination. Biol Lett 3:401–404PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kingan TG, Bodnar WM, Raina AK, Shabanowitz J, Hunt DF (1995) The loss of female sex pheromone after mating in the corn earworm moth Helicoverpa zea: identification of a male pheromonostatic peptide. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 92:5082–5086PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kotaki T (2005) Oosorption in the stink bug, Plautia crossota stali: follicle cells as the site of protein degradation. Invertebr Reprod Dev 47:147–153CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Lentz AJ, Miller JR (1996) Effect of male accessory gland extracts on induction of oviposition in the gypsy moth, Lymantria dispar (Lymantriidae). J Lepid Soc 50:226–236Google Scholar
  23. Li G, Chen Q, Pang Y (1998) Studies of artificial diets for the beet armyworm, Spodoptera exigua. Acta Sci Nat Univ Sunyatseni 4:1–5Google Scholar
  24. Li W, Zou WJ, Wang LH (2006) The bionomics and control of Prodenia litura in Kunming. Southwest China J Agric Sci 19:85–89Google Scholar
  25. Li C, Yu J-F, Xu J, Liu J-H, Ye H (2012) Reproductive rhythms of the tobacco cutworm, Spodoptera litura (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). GSTF J BioSci 2:25–29Google Scholar
  26. McNamara KB, Elgar MA, Jones TM (2008) Seminal compounds, female receptivity and fitness in the almond moth, Cadra cautella. Anim Behav 76:771–777CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Nagalakshimi VK, Applebaum SW, Azrielli A, Rafaeli A (2007) Female sex pheromone suppression and the fate of sex-peptide-like peptides in mated moths of Helicoverpa armigera. Arch Insect Biochem 64:142–155CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Obara Y, Tateda H, Kuwabara M (1975) Mating behavior of the cabbage white butterfly Peiris rapae crucivora V. Copulatory stimuli inducing changes of female response patterns. Zool Mag (Tokyo) 84:71–76Google Scholar
  29. Ohgushi T (1996) A reproductive tradeoff in an herbivorous lady beetle: egg resorption and female survival. Oecologia 106:345–351CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Ottiger M, Soller M, Stocker RF, Kubli E (2000) Binding sites of Drosophila melanogaster sex peptide pheromones. J Neurobiol 44:57–71PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Parker GA (1982) Why are there so many tiny sperm—sperm competition and the maintenance of 2 sexes. J Theor Biol 96:281–294PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Poiani A (2006) Complexity of seminal fluid: a review. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 60:289–310CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Raina AK (1993) Neuroendocrine control of sex pheromone biosynthesis in Lepidoptera. Annu Rev Entomol 38:320–349CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Raina AK, Werginb WP, Murphyb CA, Erbe EF (2000) Structural organization of the sex pheromone gland in Helicoverpa zea in relation to pheromone production and release. Arthropod Struct Dev 29:343–353PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Ram KR, Wolfner MF (2007) Seminal influences: Drosophila Acps and the molecular interplay between males and females during reproduction. Integr Comp Biol 47:427–445CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Rönn J, Katvala M, Arnqvist G (2007) Coevolution between harmful male genitalia and female resistance in seed beetles. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 104:10921–10925PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Simmons LW (2001) Sperm competition and its evolutionary consequences in the insects. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  38. Sugawara T (1981) Fine structure of the stretch receptor in the bursa copulatrix of the butterfly, Pieris rapae crucivora. Cell Tissue Res 217:23–36PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Tatarnic NJ, Cassis G, Hochuli DF (2006) Traumatic insemination in the plant bug genus Coridromius Signoret (Heteroptera: Miridae). Biol Lett 2:58–61PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Thibout E (1979) Stimulation of reproductive activity of females of Acrolepiopsis assectella (Lepidoptera, Hyponomeutoidea) by the presence of eupyrene spermatozoa in the spermatheca. Entomol Exp Appl 26:279–290CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Trivers R (1972) Parental investment and sexual selection. In: Champbell B (ed) Sexual selection and the descent of man. Aldine, Chicago, pp 136–179Google Scholar
  42. Wang MH, Horng SB (2004) Egg dumping and life history strategy of Callosobruchus maculatus. Physiol Entomol 29:26–31CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Xu J, Wang Q (2009) Male moths undertake both pre- and in-copulation mate choice based on female age and weight. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 63:801–808CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Xu J, Wang Q (2011) Seminal fluid reduces female longevity and stimulates egg production and sperm trigger oviposition in a moth. J Insect Physiol 57:385–390PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Xue M, Pang Y-H, Wang H-T, Li Q-L, Liu T-X (2010) Effects of four host plants on biology and food utilization of the cutworm, Spodoptera litura. J Insect Sci 10:1–14CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Yapici N, Kim YJ, Ribeiro C, Dickson BJ (2008) A receptor that mediates the post-mating switch in Drosophila reproductive behaviour. Nature 451:33–37PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Zar JH (1999) Biostatistical analysis. Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle RiverGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Biological Invasion and EcosecurityYunnan UniversityKunmingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.College of ForestrySouthwest Forestry UniversityKunmingPeople’s Republic of China

Personalised recommendations