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Abstract

The Annona fruit borer, Cerconota anonella, causes significant damage to the fruits of Annona squamosa (custard apple) and A. muricata (soursop). The methods currently available for the control of this pest are costly and new techniques, possibly involving the use of pheromones for trapping or disrupting the mating cycle of the insect are required. In order to provide the basic information required for the development of new control systems, the reproductive behaviour of the moth was observed under laboratory conditions. The calling and courtship behaviours exhibited by virgin females and males of C. anonella commenced at the eighth hour of the scotophase and continued for a 3.5-h period. Males were attracted by conspecific females as young as 1 d old, and showed a courtship behaviour composed of three steps: antennation, wing fanning and short flights. Mating mainly occurred when both males and females were between 2 and 5 d old, but maximum activity was observed on the third day after emergence. Receptive females elevated their wings, showing their abdomens where the abdominal hairpencils were already exposed. As part of the courtship repertoire and immediately prior to copula, males performed pronounced sideways movements of their abdomens, a behaviour that appears to be exclusive to C. anonella.