On a hilltop in central Arizona, males of the wasp, Astata boharti, exhibit fidelity to certain perch sites on the ground, while males of Astata occidentalis return to perch sites on the outer twigs of the limbs of trees and shrubs. As is true for other members of the genus, males of both species fly out from and then back to their perches, sometimes in response to passing insects. Both species are present during the late morning to early afternoon in September, when temperatures are still high in the Sonoran Desert. Although during this study, males of neither species were seen interacting with females, their behavior is convergent with that of a variety of other species of insects known to possess a mating system in which males wait for females to come to them at perch sites on hilltops. Hilltopping behavior has been previously documented for only a few crabronid wasps.
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Vol. 52 • No. 4