Monday, December 10, 2007 - 10:17 AM

Behavioral evidence for the use of vision and contact cues in the mating systems of Agrilus planipennis and Agrilus subcinctus (Coleoptera: Buprestidae)

Jonathan Lelito,, Katalin Boroczky,, James Tumlinson,, and Thomas Baker, Pennsylvania State University, Entomology, 119 Chemical Ecology Lab, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA

The invasive emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) and a native congener (Agrilus subcinctus) were examined for behaviors related to mate location and identification. Previous research indicates that A. planipennis males locate conspecifics first visually and then discriminate between the sexes after contact. Male A. subcinctus also appear to locate females using visual cues; males mount dead beetles of both sexes either directly from flight or by a ‘pouncing’ behavior from the substrate. Once contact is made, males appear to discriminate between the sexes based on a contact cuticular chemical cue. Dead males, and beetles of either sex washed in solvent, are rapidly dismounted, whereas dead females are persistently examined, often for many seconds. Attempted copulations with the dead females often result as well. This behavior is very similar to that previously noted for A. planipennis. In experiments with A. planipennis, dead female beetles were used to assess behavior involving a potential contact cue. These dead females were either: unwashed, washed in solvent, or coated with varying concentrations of 3-methyl-tricosane, a compound we had identified from the cuticle of female A. planipennis. Feral male A. planipennis spent the most time examining unwashed dead females. However, males spent significantly more time examining dead females to which the highest concentration of 3-methyl-tricosane had been applied than those merely washed in solvent.

Species 1: Coleoptera Buprestidae Agrilus planipennis (emerald ash borer)
Species 2: Coleoptera Buprestidae Agrilus subcinctus