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1 March 2001 Male-Made Abdominal Marks as an Indicator of Female Mating Status in Noctuid Species
L. M. Torres-Vila, J. N. McNeil
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In certain moth species, scales from ventral surface of the female abdominal tip may be removed by the male valvae during mating. The occurrence and frequency of these scaleless patches or “abdominal marks” were quantified in an array of noctuid species to determine if these could be used as a non-intrusive means of determining the mating status of females. In 20 species, abdominal marks were never found on mated females despite the large sample sizes examined. In another 15 species the percentage of mated females (determined by the presence of spermatophores) with abdominal marks was quite variable, ranging from 1 to 100%. In three species, >95% of mated females bore abdominal marks: Aporophyla nigra Haworth, Hecatera bicolorata Hufnagel, and Mythimna unipuncta Haworth. In most species the frequency of marking was related to multiple mating (polyandry). Marks were also observed on some virgin females, i.e., individuals with no spermatophore. It is concluded that the presence of these scale-less patches may only provide a reasonable indication of the female mating status for certain species.

L. M. Torres-Vila and J. N. McNeil "Male-Made Abdominal Marks as an Indicator of Female Mating Status in Noctuid Species," Annals of the Entomological Society of America 94(2), 226-229, (1 March 2001).[0226:MMAMAA]2.0.CO;2
Received: 12 June 2000; Accepted: 1 October 2000; Published: 1 March 2001

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abdominal marks
Aporophyla nigra
Hecatera bicolorata
mating status
Mythimna unipuncta
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