This study characterized several parameters associated with reproductive behaviors of a Californian population of the grape mealybug, Pseudococcus maritimus (Ehrhorn). Experiments with caged adults confirmed that females from this population could not reproduce parthenogenetically. Both sexes were capable of mating multiple times on the same day and on sequential days. Median times between copulations were short (<10 min) on the first day that males were presented with females, but tended to increase with sequential copulation events. Unmated females lived for up to 19 wk, whereas mating and oviposition resulted in reduced longevity. We hypothesized that constant exposure to pheromone might stimulate males to leave their cocoons sooner and increase their activity levels compared with males that were not exposed to pheromone, resulting in shortened life-spans. However, whereas exposure to pheromone did stimulate males to emerge slightly sooner than control males, pheromone exposure had no effect on the longevity of males. The implications of the results of these experiments for pheromone-based methods of detection and control of mealybugs are discussed.
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Vol. 105 • No. 3