Tobacco Budworm Moths (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae): Effect of Time of Emergence, Male Age, and Frequency of Mating on Sperm Transfer and Egg Viability

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Laboratory-reared male and female tobacco budworm, Heliothis virescens (F.), moths were collected as they emerged from pupae under reversed light/dark photoperiod conditions. Moths of either sex >1 to 9 h old did not mate during the dark period of emergence, but the majority of the insects (69–86%) mated during the second dark period encountered. Some moths of each sex emerged during h 2 to 5 of the light period following the dark period. Some of these insects mated during the first dark period they encountered as adults (ca. 16 h old). Mating was initiated during the fourth h of the dark period. Time in copula ranged from 30 to 350 min, and males successfully transferred a spermatophore and sperm (eupyrene and apyrene) during all the recorded times in copula, with the exception of one occasion each when pairs were coupled for 30 or 215 min, and a few instances when moth pairs became locked in copula and died, or males transferred incompletely formed spermatophores. Male moths mated an average of 3.5 times during 8 days, but percentages of moths mating and percentages of male moths transferring eupyrene sperm decreased with increasing numbers of previous male matings. Female moths (1–2 days old) mated to male moths 6 days or older, produced few viable eggs. Longevity of mated males and females was less than that of virgin insects.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 1985

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  • Journal of Economic Entomology is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December. The journal publishes articles on the economic significance of insects and is divided into the following sections: apiculture & social insects; arthropods in relation to plant disease; forum; insecticide resistance and resistance management; ecotoxicology; biological and microbial control; ecology and behavior; sampling and biostatistics; household and structural insects; medical entomology; molecular entomology; veterinary entomology; forest entomology; horticultural entomology; field and forage crops, and small grains; stored-product; commodity treatment and quarantine entomology; and plant resistance. In addition to research papers, Journal of Economic Entomology publishes Letters to the Editor, interpretive articles in a Forum section, Short Communications, Rapid Communications, and Book Reviews.
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