Calling Behaviour in Arctiid Moths: The Effects of Temperature and Wind Speed on the Rhythmic Exposure of the Sex Attractant Gland

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Female arctiid moths rhythmically extrude their ovipositors and thereby rhythmically expose their sex pheromone glands while calling. In Utetheisa ornatrix this behaviour results in concentration-modulated or pulsed pheromone release. The ovipositor protrusion frequencies were determined for 15 arctiid species: U. ornatrix, Haploa clymene, H. colona, H. lecontei, Pyrrarctia isabella, Estigmene acrea, Spilosoma congrua, S. virginica, Ecpantheria scribonia, Phragmatobia fuliginosa, Apantesis nais, A. arge, Pareuchaetes insulata, Cycnia tenera, and Euchaetes egle. Moth species that call early in the scotophase extrude their ovipositors at high frequencies (up to 170.9 ± 24.9 extrusions/min at 25°C) while moth species that call late in scotophase extrude their ovipositors at low frequencies (down to 68.3 ± 5.4 extrusions/min at 25°C). In all species tested, the ovipositor extrusion frequencies were shown to be temperature sensitive with a mean Q10 of 2.0 ± 0.1. In one species, U. ornatrix, the ovipositor extrusion frequency varies with wind speed. In still air the ovipositor extrusion frequency is 70.1 ± 8.4 extrusions/min and at a wind speed of 120 cm/s the ovipositor extrusion frequency is 142.1 ± 8.3 extrusions/min. Suggested functions for rhythmic ovipositor extrusion during calling are discussed.


Journal of Insect Physiology





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