When a male perceives a female: the effect of waxy components on the body surface on decision-making in the invasive pest weevil.
Insects use various semiochemicals for sexual communication and mate recognition; these can therefore be used to govern the behaviours of harmful pest species, and several candidate chemicals have been explored for this purpose. For the West Indian sweet potato weevil, Euscepes postfasciatus, which is one of the most serious pests of sweet potato, no effective capture techniques, such as sex pheromone lures, exist. Toward exploring promising procedures for monitoring these weevils, we assessed the effect of secretions on the body surface on the recognition of congeners and on courtship behaviour in the weevils. Our study clearly demonstrated that weevils responded to extracts from the body surface, and the behaviour adopted by the weevils varied significantly depending on the condition of the extracts. Furthermore, we found a significantly prolonged retention time for males on glass beads covered with extracts of females based on survival analysis. These findings are, as far as we are aware, the first to show the effect of lipid components of the body surface on decision-making in these economically important pest weevils.