The natural history and mating behavior of a species of tephritid fruit fly in the poorly studied genus Haywardina are described for the first time. Haywardina cuculi Hendel larvae were recovered over four field seasons from infested fruit of Vassobia breviflora (Sendtn.) Hunz, which constitutes a new host plant record for this species. Recovered pupae emerged as adults over 183 days on average, suggesting that most individuals became dormant. Adult flies engaged in sexual activity as soon as two days after emergence, were highly promiscuous, and displayed large variability in copulation duration. As for most tephritid species in the subtribe Carpomyini, H. cuculi exhibited a resource defense mating system. Fly activity peaked around noon. Copulation could last from 9 min to 17 h, with most copulations beginning in the afternoon and lasting until the following day. We discuss the potential significance of copulation duration variability in light of mate guarding and sperm competition hypothesis and outline future research to understand the evolution of life history and these behavioral strategies.
Journal of Insect Behavior – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 13, 2017
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