Substrate-borne marking in the parasitoid wasp Urolepis rufipes (Hymenoptera: Pteromalidae)
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Many animals use pheromone marking as a way to identify their territory or other resources. Among insects, substrate-borne marking is frequently reported for females, which in many species make marks containing oviposition deterring pheromone, which other females avoid. However, there are fewer reports of substrate-borne marking for males. Here marking in males of the parasitoid wasp Urolepis rufipes (Ashmead) is described. The conditions under which males mark and whether males and females respond to the males’ marks were examined using behavioral observations. Males marked by dragging the tips of their abdomens across a substrate. They marked much more after mating and after consuming honey. They also marked more when with a female irrespective of copulation, although not when with a male. Females spent more time on or near marked substrates, and males also responded to their own marks. Although males aggressively and successfully defended areas that they had marked against other males, males did not respond to another male’s marks in the conspecific’s absence. In contrast to males, females did not mark, either on the surface of hosts or on other surfaces; and males showed no detectable response to surfaces which females had recently occupied.