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1 December 2002 Aggregation and Male Attraction to Feeding Virgin Females in Macrodactylus subspinosus (F.) (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Melolonthinae)
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In several field assays, Macrodactylus subspinosus (F.) adults were significantly more attracted to feeding adult conspecifics than to any other treatment; males were more attracted to feeding virgin females than feeding field-collected (i.e., mated) females. Alternative treatments among the experiments included plant material, artificially damaged plant material, screened artificially damaged plant material adults, virgin females, mating adults, field-collected males, and field-collected females. Repeated-measures experiments in laboratory bioassays indicated that wild grape leaf disks damaged and treated with beetle regurgitant were no more attractive than unaltered or artificially damaged disks; however, the treatments that had been fed upon first attracted significantly more beetles than those that had been fed upon subsequently. Beetles were never observed “calling”, and scanning electron microscopy did not reveal cuticle pores as in some scarabs. We conclude that the act of feeding causes the immediate release of plant volatiles that act with normal levels of plant volatile release to increase adult attraction. Furthermore, virgin females enhance male attraction over mated females by causing the release of either female-based or plant-based volatiles.

RESUMEN En varios experimentos de capturas de campo, adultos de la especie Macrodactylus subspinosus (F.) fueron significativamente más atraídos hacia aquellos adultos que estaban alimentándose que hacia los otros tratamientos. Los machos fueron más atraidos hacia las hembras virgenes que estaban alimentándose que hacia las hembras colectadas en el campo que tambien estaban alimentándose. Los otros tratamientos fueron tejido de planta, tejido de planta con daño artificial, tejido de planta con daño artificial protegido con tela antimosquito adultos, hembras virgenes, adultos fértiles, machos colectados en el campo (i.e., fértiles), y hembras colectadas en el campo. Los experimentos de laboratorio indicaron que discos de hoja de uva silvestre, dañados y cubiertos con rejurgitado del escarabajo no fueron más atrayentes que discos inalterados o artificialmente dañados; sin embargo, los tratamientos en que los adultos fueron alimentados primero atrajeron considerablemente más escarabajos que aquellos en que los adultos fueron alimentados al final. Se podría concluir que el acto de herbivoria induce la liberacion immediata de volatiles de plantas que son atractivas a conspecificos e induce a las hembras a producir compuestos que actuan con los volatiles de la plantas para atraer mas machos.

J. J. Heath, R. N. Williams, and P. L. Phelan "Aggregation and Male Attraction to Feeding Virgin Females in Macrodactylus subspinosus (F.) (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Melolonthinae)," Environmental Entomology 31(6), 934-940, (1 December 2002).
Received: 1 October 2001; Accepted: 1 April 2002; Published: 1 December 2002

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