Interrelation of mating, flight, and fecundity in navel orangeworm females

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2018-04-01
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Gassmann, Aaron
Rovnyak, Angela
Burks, Charles
Gassmann, Aaron
Sappington, Thomas
Sappington, Thomas
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Entomology
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Entomology
Abstract

The navel orangeworm, Amyelois transitella (Walker) (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae, Phycitini), is an economically important pest of nut crops in California, USA. Improved management will require better understanding of insect dispersal, particularly relative to when mating occurs. A previous study demonstrated a more robust laboratory flight capacity compared to other orchard moth pests, but it was unclear how mating affects dispersal, and how dispersal affects fecundity. In this study, 1‐ and 2‐day‐old females were allowed to fly overnight on a flight mill either before or after mating, respectively, and were then allowed to oviposit. Data on fecundity were compared between treatments to minimally handled or tethered‐only control females. Females that mated before flight flew longer and covered a greater distance than those flying prior to mating. However, timing of flight relative to mating did not affect fecundity, nor did any measure of flight performance. There was no effect on fecundity when females were forced to fly for designated durations from 3 min to 2 h. Together, our data revealed no obvious trade‐off between flight activity and reproductive output. Distances measured on the flight mills (mean ca. 15 km for mated females) may overestimate net displacement in the field where flight tracks are often meandering. The results suggest that most females mate and oviposit in or near their natal habitat, but that some may disperse potentially long distances to oviposit elsewhere.

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This article is published as Rovnyak, Angela M., Charles S. Burks, Aaron J. Gassmann, and Thomas W. Sappington. "Interrelation of mating, flight, and fecundity in navel orangeworm females." Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 166 (2018): 304, doi: 10.1111/eea.12675.

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