Courtship, Mating Behavior, and Ovary Histology of the Nymph Parasitoid Psyllaephagus bliteus (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae)
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The potential of the parasitoid Psyllaephagus bliteus Riek for the biological control of the eucalyptus pest Glycaspis brimblecombei Moore (Hemiptera: Aphalaridae) nymphs is high. This research sought to analyze the courtship, male competition, and mating behavior of P. bliteus at the proportions of 1:1 and 2:1 males to female in a Petri dish (5 cm diameter), and to describe the ovary histology of virgin and mated females of this parasitoid. At 1:1, males touch the antennae and thorax-abdomen of females during courtship, but females avoid mate attempts before they are 48 h old. At 2:1, the competition between male parasitoids inhibits mating. The histology of ovaries of virgin and mated P. bliteus females is similar, with two well-defined germarium and vitellarium regions, with oocytes at different developmental stages, including mature ones rich in yolk and with eggshell. A clearer understanding of the reproductive behavior and histology of P. bliteus aids in the use of this parasitoid for the biological control of G. brimblecombei.