Eur. J. Entomol. 111 (1): 75-81, 2014 | 10.14411/eje.2014.009

Female sex pheromone gland of the boxwood leafminer, Monarthropalpus buxi (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae): Morphological and behavioural evidence

Paola RIOLO1, Sara RUSCHIONI1, Roxana L. MINUZ1, Roberto ROMANI2, Nunzio ISIDORO*,1
1 Dipartimento di Scienze Agrarie, Alimentari e Ambientali, UniversitL Politecnica delle Marche,Via Brecce Bianche, 60131 Ancona, Italy; e-mails: p.riolo@univpm.it; s.ruschioni@univpm.it; roxana.minuz@gmail.com; n.isidoro@univpm.it
2 Dipartimento di Scienze Agrarie e Ambientali, UniversitL di Perugia, 06121 Perugia, Italy; e-mail: rromani@unipg.it

Morphological studies were carried out to determine whether females of the boxwood leafminer, Monarthropalpus buxi (Laboulbene) (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae) have a pheromone gland, its position and ultra-structure. In addition, the reproductive behaviour of this gall midge was studied in the laboratory in a wind-tunnel. The source of the sex pheromone was identified as the epidermis of the inter-segmental membrane between the 8th and 9th abdominal segments of females. The epidermis there was hypertrophied and consisted of a unicellular layer of secretory cells with ultra-structural features that include a well developed smooth endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi complexes that are typical of pheromone-producing glands. At adult emergence the sex ratio was 1 : 1. The virgin females extruded their ovipositor and moved it slowly (visible using a video-camera at high magnification), which was followed by mating. The females were monogamous, while the males usually mated several times with different females. Wind-tunnel bioassays using virgin females, ovipositor-ectomised virgins and mated females provided further evidence that virgin females produce a sex pheromone.

Keywords: Diptera, Cecidomyiidae, gall midge, secretory structure, ultra-structure, reproductive biology

Received: June 7, 2013; Accepted: September 23, 2013; Published: January 9, 2014

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