Is Contact Between Conspecifics Involved in the Cohesion of Harmonia axyridis (Pallas) (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) Aggregations?

Durieux, Delphine; Fassotte, Bérénice; Fischer, Christophe; Lognay, Georges; Haubruge, Eric; Verheggen, François
January 2014
Journal of Insect Behavior;Jan2014, Vol. 27 Issue 1, p1
Academic Journal
The multicolored Asian ladybeetle, Harmonia axyridis (Pallas), exhibits a gregarious behavior during unfavorable winter conditions. Although this behavior is currently described as a phenomenon occurring only during winter, H. axyridis aggregations can also be observed outside overwintering conditions. However, the substrate markings previously highlighted as being involved in the wintry aggregation of this exotic species do not seem to be used by non-overwintering individuals to aggregate. This fact suggests then that other cues are responsible for the induction of this behavior. In this work, we have tested the hypothesis that direct contact between non-overwintering individuals stimulates the establishment of clusters. Binary choice experiments highlighted the involvement of elytral cuticular compounds in this phenomenon. Chromatographic analyses showed that the active extracts contained mainly hydrocarbons, including saturated, mono-unsaturated, and di-unsaturated homologues. Physical contact also seems to be involved in the non-overwintering aggregative behavior of H. axyridis, but to a lesser extent than these natural compounds. These findings could eventually be used to develop new control methods of these pest populations and so, reduce the adverse impacts it causes on biodiversity.


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