We studied Paysandisia archon (Burmeister) (Lepidoptera: Castniidae: Castniinae) courtship behavior to provide a detailed qualitative and quantitative description of male and female behaviors. Moreover, to investigate the role of antennal olfaction and visual stimuli in mate-recognition, bio assays with antennectomized adults and dummies were performed. To assess the presence of a pheromone gland in the ovipositor, morphological (using light and scanning electron microscopic techniques), electrophysiological, and chemical investigations were carried out. We observed perching mate-locating behavior of P. archon males, with the female triggering the courtship sequence by approaching the perching male first. The stereotyped courtship sequence is made up of five main steps: female flight, pair flight, alighting close, copulation attempt, and clasping. Our findings suggest that visual cues are important in P. archon courtship behavior, and the role of chemical cues is also discussed. Moreover, we observed a higher antenna cleaning frequency in females than in males. Ovipositor extrusions during courtship appeared not to be related to calling behavior, and histological investigations showed no evidence of glandular tissues involved in sex pheromone production. The P. archon ovipositor consists of the eighth uromere, which forms the ovipositor base, and the 9th and 10th uromeres are fused together and connected to the base by an intersegmental membrane. Overall, 24 compounds were identified from extracts obtained from ovipositors: 9 compounds were detected only in extracts from the ovipositors of 24-h-old virgin females, and not from those of 1-h-old females. None of these compounds elicited any significant electrophysiological responses from male antennae.
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Vol. 107 • No. 3