Wright, Andrew William (1986)
Fecundity and oviposition behaviour of the cowpea seed beetle, Callosobruchus maculatus (Fabricius).
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The reproductive biology of three strains of Callosobruchus maculatus F. (Coleoptera: Bruchidae), the cowpea-seed beetle, was studied. This beetle is a serious pest of stored legume seeds in the semi-arid tropics.As females aged, energy reserves were depleted and aspects of this decline were related to the number of eggs laid in order to explain the observed daily egg laying pattern of C. macuiatus. Various factors affected the fecundity of females. The initial adult weight of females showed a strong positive relationship with the number of eggs laid. Substances, which could be extracted from cowpeas, were shown to be necessary to allow normal oviposition on an artificial substrate, glass beads. The male contribution to female fecundity was also investigated. Approximately half of the study was concerned with factors which govern a female's choice of oviposition site. The presence of a pheromone which enabled females to distribute their eggs more efficiently among cowpeas was demonstrated. This demonstration necessitated the development of a bioassay using a choice chamber which allowed beetles to choose between cowpeas marked with pheromone and control cowpeas. Using the bioassay, the solubility of the pheromone in different solvents was examined. The persistence of the pheromone over different periods of time was investigated and it was shown that the pheromone can remain active for at least thirty days.In addition to the marking pheromone, the role of physical characteristics of the oviposition substrates was also studied. The surface area and weight of such substrates were shown to affect the choice of oviposition site by females. The results obtained are discussed in the context of previous work on bruchids, particularly models of oviposition behaviour proposed by some workers.
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Institution: University of London, Royal Holloway and Bedford New College (United Kingdom).