Mate finding is a key lifecycle event for the pecan nut casebearer, Acrobasis nuxvorella Neunzig, as it is for virtually all Lepidoptera, many of which rely on long-range, species-specific sex pheromones, regulated largely by circadian clocks. Adult male moths were trapped at discrete time intervals during the first two seasonal flights for 6 yr to determine times of peak activity associated with male response to pheromones. From 1997 to 2002, the Harris-Coble automated clockwork timing trap was used for hourly time-segregated sampling. Analysis of variance with linear contrasts determined that circadian response of A. nuxvorella males to pecan nut casebearer pheromone began at ≈2100 hours, the first hour of total darkness, lasting for 6–7 h. It peaked from midnight to 0400 hours and ended at the onset of morning twilight, ≈0500 hours. The hours of peak activity are hours of minimal bat predation. The study shows that pecan nut casebearer males become responsive to pheromone several hours before females start calling and remain responsive for at least 1 h after they stop. The extended response period conforms to studies of other polygamous Lepidoptera in which a selective advantage is conferred on early responding males in scramble competition for available females.
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