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Biology and behaviour of Ephestiasula pictipes (Wood-Mason) (Hymenopodidae: Mantodea) under captive breeding

Vanitha, K., Bhat, P.S., Raviprasad, T.N., Srikumar, K.K.
International journal of pest management 2016 v.62 no.4 pp. 308-318
Galleria mellonella, Hymenopodidae, adults, biological control agents, breeding, captive animals, copulation, courtship, fecundity, females, insect larvae, laboratory rearing, longevity, males, mass rearing, oviposition, plantations, sex ratio
The biology and behaviour of a common predator in cashew plantations, Ephestiasula pictipes (Wood-Mason), were studied under captivity for three seasons using greater wax moth larvae as prey. During Feb–May, incubation and nymphal developmental period were shorter when compared with Jun–Sep and Oct–Jan. The female mantids laid ootheca once in every 3–4 days, for a period of 70–77 days. Adult longevity and oviposition period were significantly higher during Feb–May, while no significant difference was observed in sex ratio, oviposition interval and pre oviposition period during different seasons. Sexual behaviour consisted of preliminary courtship and copulation, involving 14 activities in sequence. Duration of mounting, copulation and riding around on the female by the male widely varied from 2 min to 28 h; 5.15 to 6.10 h; and 2 to 74 h, respectively. High fertility, high fecundity, shorter life cycle, multivoltinism and feasibility of laboratory rearing throughout the year are the advantageous features of E. pictipes that permits for its mass rearing and emergence as a viable biocontrol agent in future.