a1 Department of Entomology, Volcani Center, ARO, Bet Dagan 50250, Israel
a2 Centro de Estudos Florestais, Instituto Superior de Agronomia, Universidade Técnica de Lisboa, 1349-017 Lisboa, Portugal
The physiological age of adult males of seven mealybug species was measured in relation to the elongation of the male pair of the waxy caudal filaments. These filaments begin to emerge after eclosion and reached their maximum length from 29.4–46.6 h. The studied males were divided into three age groups, expressed as percentages of the total waxy caudal filaments length. Attraction to a sex pheromone source was significantly higher in the oldest male group (maximum filaments growth) compared with youngest one. Only the oldest male group copulated successfully; few of the younger males tested displayed 'courtship' behavior towards conspecific virgin females. The calculated duration of the sexually active phase of the adult male life cycle varied among species ranging from 34.4 to 46.6 h. There were marked variations in the strength of attraction to a pheromone source according to time of day. There was a continuous decrease in sexual activity from morning to evening. Our findings reveal clear maturation periods for adult males of the seven studied species. The long immature phase of the adult male mealybug is probably also related to several physiological processes that are needed to complete male maturation. The most noticeable change is the elongation of the waxy caudal filaments. However, mating may be performed at any time ambient conditions are suitable. Whereas male mealybug flight towards a pheromone source is restricted to a few hours, the male may continue mating activity throughout its sexually active period.
(Accepted September 10 2011)
(Online publication November 15 2011)
p1 Current address: Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC), Michigan State University (MSU), East Lansing, MI 48824, USA