Flight performance of laboratory-reared adults of the plum curculio, Conotrachelus nenuphar (Herbst) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), was investigated under controlled conditions by using a flight mill system. Across all insects tested (n = 198), median values of total distance traveled, total flight time, and maximum uninterrupted flight time were 122.7 m day−1, 23.5 min day−1, and 2.0 min, respectively. The latter result indicates that flight occurred primarily in short bursts. Although females had a significantly higher body mass than males, there were no significant differences in flight performance between the two sexes. Flight during the first 24-h test period (especially the first 6 h) was dominated by escape behavior, i.e., elevated levels of activity presumably associated with attempts by the insects to regain freedom of movement; during the second 24 h, flight activity was very limited throughout the late morning and afternoon, increased around sunset, and remained high during the night. All flight performance variables decreased linearly and significantly with insect age over the age range tested (2–16 d after emergence). Nutritional status also had a significant effect, whereby insects that had been provided with apples as a food source for 2 d after emergence showed considerably improved flight performance compared with those that had been given no food or only water during the same period. There was no significant effect of mating status on flight performance of male or female insects.
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Vol. 99 • No. 6