Male Courtship Behavior in Ceratitis capitata (Diptera: Tephritidae) that Have Received Aromatherapy with Ginger Root Oil

  • Daniel Briceo
  • William Eberhard
  • Todd Shelly


The results of previous studies that showed that exposing mass-reared male Mediterranean fruit flies Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann) to ginger root oil (“aromatherapy”) increases the likelihood of mating with wild females were confirmed. The increased male success could be due to female responses to changes in male behavior or male pheromones. There were no significant differences in the types of courtship movements executed by males with and without aromatherapy. The durations of movements also did not differ when mass-reared males were paired with mass-reared females; however, when they were paired with wild females, there were a few, small differences. Previous studies indicated that the effectiveness of the male long-distance attractant pheromone is not affected by aromatherapy, but these studies did not consider pheromones released at close range during courtship, which behavioral analyses suggest may be different. We propose the following possible explanation for the different effects of aromatherapy with different females. Selection on males under mass rearing may have altered their close-range pheromones in ways that can be remedied by aromatherapy; and only wild females respond because the pheromonal responsiveness of mass-reared females has also changed. We propose observations that could test these ideas.

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