Male mating and female postmating performances in cotton mealybug (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae): effects of female density.
For insects, female density is closely related to reproductive output. However, little is known about the effects of female density on male mating and female postmating performances. Here, we explored the effects of female density in cotton mealybug, Phenacoccus solenopsis Tinsley (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae), an invasive, rapidly spreading pest in Asia damaging multiple crops and horticultural plants. Using USB digital microscopes, we investigated the frequency, duration, and intervals of mating for males that were individually supplied with 1, 5, 10, and 15 females. We also evaluated the reproduction of mated females and the sex ratio of their offspring. As the female density increased, males mated with more females while substantially shortening mating intervals. Mating occurred actively at the densities of 10 and 15 females, where males mated four times on average, and some mated 6-9 times. However, mating duration and the observed reproductive parameters of females (preoviposition period, overall period from formation of ovisacs to female death, fecundity, and offspring sex ratio) did not differ significantly with female density. A weak trade-off existed between males' mating frequency and longevity, but there was no relationship between females' fecundity and longevity. In conclusion, despite their short lifespan, P. solenopsis males have a high mating capacity, and their mating frequency and intervals can be significantly affected by female density. In contrast, female density has little influence on females' postmating performance. Our findings indicate the significance of the reproductive biology and life history strategies for rapid establishment and population development of mealybugs in newly invaded regions.