Canadian Forest Service Publications

Ovipositional phenology and behavior of the spruce cone fly, Strobilomyia neanthracina (Diptera: Anthomyiidae) 1999. Brockerhoff, E.G.; Turgeon, J.J.; Brockerhoff, A. Journal of Insect Behavior 12: 47-65.

Year: 1999

Issued by: Great Lakes Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 24445

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

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The behavior of Strobilomyia neanthracina Michelsen, a phytophage infesting spruce (Picea spp.) seed cones, was observed at a field site in northern Ontario and in cages in a greenhouse to investigate spatiotemporal aspects of mating, host location, and oviposition. In the field, adults emerged from 21 to 24 May 1996, which coincided with bud burst of Picea glauca (Moench) Voss seed cones. For 4 days following emergence, Strobilomyia flies could no longer be seen at a monitored P. glauca tree and may have been on a mating or dispersal flight. Subsequently, females but not males were seen again and the oviposition period of ca. 3 weeks began. Mating was observed only in the greenhouse, mostly (i.e., 65%) at age 5–9 days. Although copulations lasted 11–45 min, these females laid infertile eggs only, beginning at age 4 days. No sperm was found in the spermathecal capsules of females, suggesting that no sperm had been transferred during these copulations. In both the field and the greenhouse, ovipositional sequences that resulted in egg deposition occurred throughout the day but few sequences were observed before 1000, probably because flies were not very active at air temperatures below 14°C (most sequences occurred at 25–27°C). In the greenhouse, the typical ovipositional sequence lasted an average of 7 min and consisted of landing on the cone and examining it with the proboscis and sometimes the ovipositor, egg deposition, and postovipositional behaviors such as tapping (touching the cone surface with the flabellum ca. 5 times s-1), which possibly represents a host marking behavior. In the field, tapping was seen less frequently than in the greenhouse but occurred significantly (P = 0.014) more often after sequences that resulted in egg deposition than after sequences that did not. Eggs hatched after 4–5 days at 20°C. In the greenhouse, the median longevity of females and males was 24 and 17 days, respectively.