Eur. J. Entomol. 112 (4): 648-657, 2015 | 10.14411/eje.2015.082

Age dependent mate choice influences reproductive and progeny attributes in aphidophagous ladybird beetles (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae)

Mahadev BISTA, OMKAR*
Ladybird Research Laboratory, Department of Zoology, University of Lucknow, 226 007 Lucknow, India; e-mails: omkaar55@hotmail.com; bistamahadev@yahoo.com

Despite the many studies on age based mate choice in insects, the question of how age influences mate choice in predaceous ladybird beetles is still unexplored. The present study evaluates age based mate choice in two sympatric aphidophagous ladybirds, Coccinella septempunctata L. and Coccinella transversalis Fab., in terms of mating behaviour (latent period, number of bouts, bout interval and duration of wriggling movements and mating), fecundity, egg viability and the development and survival of their progeny. Results revealed that middle aged (30-40 days) mates were preferred by young (10-15 days post-eclosion), middle aged (30-40 days) and old (45-55 days) individuals of both sexes. Mating behaviour and egg viability differed significantly with male age whereas fecundity, offspring development and survival differed significantly with female age. The shortest latent periods and bout intervals, highest numbers of bouts, longest durations of wriggling movements and mating, and maximum egg viability were recorded for middle aged males whereas fecundity, percentage pupation and adult emergence of offspring were highest and durations of immature development were shortest for middle aged females. Thus, the present study indicates that middle aged individuals of C. septempunctata and C. transversalis are most preferred as mates as they have the highest reproductive output and produce the fittest offspring.

Keywords: Coleoptera, Coccinellidae, Coccinella septempunctata, Coccinella transversalis, mate choice, ladybirds, mating behaviour, reproductive attributes, progeny fitness

Received: January 12, 2015; Accepted: May 26, 2015; Prepublished online: July 21, 2015; Published: November 21, 2015

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