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Parasitol Res. 2015 Mar;114(3):887-94. doi: 10.1007/s00436-014-4252-7. Epub 2014 Dec 10.

The best time to have sex: mating behaviour and effect of daylight time on male sexual competitiveness in the Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus (Diptera: Culicidae).

Author information

1
Insect Behaviour Group, Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment, University of Pisa, via del Borghetto 80, 56124, Pisa, Italy, g.benelli@sssup.it.

Abstract

Aedes albopictus is the most invasive mosquito worldwide and works as a vector for many important pathogens. Control tools rely to chemical treatments against larvae, indoor residual spraying and insecticide-treated bed nets. Recently, huge efforts have been carried out to propose new eco-friendly alternatives, such as evaluation of plant-borne compounds and sterile insect technique (SIT) programs. Success of SIT is dependent to the ability of sterile males to compete for mates with wild ones. Little is still known about mating behaviour of Aedes males. Most of the studies focus on comparisons of insemination ability in sterilised and wild males, while behavioural analyses of mating behaviour are lacking. Here, I quantified the courtship and mating behaviour of A. albopictus and evaluated how daylight hours affect male mating behaviour and success. A. albopictus males chased females facing them frontally, from behind, or from a lateral side. If the female allowed genital contact, copulation followed. Otherwise, females performed rejection kicks and/or flew away. Thirty-seven percent of males obtained a successful copulation (i.e. sperm transfer occurs), lasting 63 ± 4 s. Unsuccessful copulation (20 % of males) had shorter duration (18 ± 1 s). Successful copulations followed longer male courtships (39 ± 3 s), over courtships preceding unsuccessful copulation (20 ± 2 s) or male's rejection (22 ± 2 s). After copulation, the male rested 7 ± 0.4 s close to the female, then move off. In a semi-natural environment, male mating success was lower in early afternoon, over morning and late afternoon. However, little differences in courtship duration over daylight periods were found. This study adds knowledge to the reproductive behaviour of A. albopictus, which can be used to perform comparisons among courtship and mating ethograms from different mosquito species and strains, allowing monitoring and optimisation of mass rearing quality over time in SIT programs.

PMID:
25487029
DOI:
10.1007/s00436-014-4252-7
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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