Body size influences mating success of the eucalyptus longhorned borer (coleoptera: cerambycidae)

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Both sexes of adult Phoracantha semipunctata F. (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae) congregate on stressed Eucalyptus that are the larval hosts. In a field study, 721 adult P. semipunctata captured on host trees varied considerably in body size with the largest individuals being about twice the length of the smallest. Females that were paired with a mate were similar in size to solitary females, suggesting that the probability of a female being mated was not affected by her size. However, large males had greater success than smaller males in obtaining mates. Male P. semipunctata rely on antennal contact to locate and identify females on the larval host. Therefore, the rate at which males search for mates is a function of the area swept by their antennae per unit time. Because of their greater antennal spread, large males were able to search for females at double the rate of the smallest males. Large males also dominated in aggressive contests for females. The superior abilities of large male P. semipunctata in both locating and defending mates account for the influence of body size on mating success.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)369-382
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Insect Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Associative mating
  • Body size
  • Cerambycidae
  • Insect
  • Male competition
  • Mating

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Insect Science


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