The mating system of the Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann), is based on leks. In field cage choice experiments we examined lek site selection as influenced by the presence of fruit and the presence of conspecific flies. Males were allowed to choose between artificial trees containing fruit and trees without fruit. Males showed a significant preference for the tree baited with fruit. To determine which fruit-related stimuli were important, males were allowed to choose between visual and/or olfactory fruit-derived stimuli. Males preferred to lek on trees presenting both stimuli. To determine the influence of conspecifics on lek site selection, males were allowed to choose between trees containing male and/or female conspecific flies. The presence of pheromone-emitting males was preferred. In addition, both in the field and on artificial trees, we examined the effect of leaf size on lek site selection. In the field, males preferred to lek on leaves of a particular size. Moreover, leaf integrity was important, as males tended to select undamaged leaves as lek sites. In field cage experiments, males consistently chose to lek on trees containing the largest leaves. We conclude that the choice of lek site is influenced by the presence of fruit and of other lekking males, while leaf size and integrity determine male location within a lek.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank Scott Field, Phil Taylor, and an anonymous reviewer for comments on the manuscript. Flies were reared and generously provided by R. Akiva and Y. Rossler of the Israel Citrus Board. This work was supported by grants from the California Department of Food and Agriculture and the U.S.-Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund (BARD) to B.Y. and T. Shelly.
- Ceratitis capitatai lek