The potential for short-range sex pheromone communication by the egg parasitoid wasp Trissolcus brochymenae (Hymenoptera: Platygastridae) was investigated in closed arena bioassays. Males of this parasitoid showed more antennal drumming and more frequent mounting behaviour on 1- to 2-d-old virgin females compared with 8-d-old virgin females. Male copulation attempts were fewer with previously mated females than with virgin females. Males courted and made copulation attempts with 1- to 2-d-old female cadavers, but not with male cadavers or with female cadavers rinsed in organic solvents of different polarities. Male attraction to female cadavers was re-established by treating cadavers with acetone extracts of females, but not with ether or hexane extracts. In experiments using female cadavers dissected into head, mesosoma, and gaster, and then reassembled using one unwashed body section and two body sections washed in acetone, males were attracted only to the reassembled cadavers with an unwashed mesosoma. These findings suggest that (1) courtship behaviour in males of T. brochymenae is triggered by a short-range sex pheromone produced by females; (2) the age and the physiological condition of females (virgin/mated) influence pheromone release or production; (3) the female's mesosoma is the source of the sex pheromone; and (4) polar components of the sex pheromone play a major role in influencing male behaviour. Our results suggest that quasi-gregarious egg parasitoids are selected for short-range rather than long-range sex pheromones.
Salerno, G., Frati, F., Iacovone, A., Conti, E., Peri, E., & Colazza, S. (2012). A female-produced short-range sex pheromone in the egg parasitoid Trissolcus brochymenae. INVERTEBRATE BIOLOGY, 131(2), 144-153 [10.1111/j.1744-7410.2012.00258.x].