Reproductive behaviour and vibratory communication of the neotropical predatory stink bug Podisus nigrispinus


Correspondence: Raúl A. Laumann, Embrapa Genetic Resources and Biotechnology, Parque Estação Biológica, W5 Norte (Final), Brasília 70770-917, Brazil. Tel.: +55 61 3448 4676; e-mail:


Vibratory communication during reproductive behaviour is less well described in predatory (Asopinae) than in phytophagous (Pentatominae) stink bugs. Different steps in the mating behaviour of the predatory stink bug Podisus nigrispinus (Dallas) (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae; Asopinae) are described in the present study, together with vibratory signals emitted on artificial and natural substrate during courtship and copulation. Vibratory signals in Podisus nigrispinus have a decisive role in copulation success and are produced in both sexes by abdominal vibration and tremulation. In P. nigrispinus, one species-specific female and two male songs, which do not show the calling function typically found in phytophagous stink bugs, are produced by abdominal vibration and are emitted during reproductive behaviour. Additionally, P. nigrispinus produces tremulatory signals that have no species or sex specificity. Tremulatory signals emitted spontaneously on a plant as a sequence of readily repeated pulses are similar to the calling songs of the Pentatominae stink bug. These signals may carry information on the presence of a mate; however, in other behavioural contexts, they may have a different function, such as advertisement or even alarm signals. Plants transmit vibratory signals produced by both mechanisms as a low-pass filter, increasing the amount of low-frequency components. The results of the present study raise important questions about the interaction between chemical and vibratory signals in the mating behaviour of predatory stink bugs.