Courtship behaviour in the sandfly Lutzomyia longipalpis, the New World vector of visceral leishmaniasis

Bray, D. P. and Hamilton, J. G.C. (2007) Courtship behaviour in the sandfly Lutzomyia longipalpis, the New World vector of visceral leishmaniasis. Medical and Veterinary Entomology, 21 (4). pp. 332-338. ISSN 0269-283X

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Courtship behaviour in Lutzomyia longipalpis Lutz and Neiva (Diptera: Psychodidae) was examined to determine the sequence of behaviours that occur prior to copulation. Courtship consisted of a series of male and female touching and wing-flapping behaviours, with males performing a greater variety of wing-flapping behaviours than previously described. Occurrence of male approach-flapping, semi-circling and female stationary-flapping were all predictors of eventual copulation, and may coincide with the dispersal of pheromones or the production of auditory signals important to courtship. Touching occurred in the majority of observations, with contact most often made with the tips of the legs and antennae. This behaviour, not previously described in sandflies, was initiated by males and females, and may indicate the use of contact pheromones, a form of communication previously overlooked in L. longipalpis. Future studies are required to separate the auditory and chemical signals associated with wing-flapping, and to confirm whether L. longipalpis possesses cuticular hydrocarbons capable of inducing behavioural responses. The identification of signals that inhibit sexual behaviour during courtship may be particularly relevant to developing mating disruption techniques against L. longipalpis.

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Journal Article
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Medical and Veterinary Entomology
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30 Sep 2019 22:19
Last Modified:
22 Nov 2022 08:08