Mantid sex pheromones: female calling behaviour and male responses in the Australian false garden mantid, Pseudomantis albofimbriata (Dictyoptera: Mantidae)

Md Mahmudunnabi*, Katherine L. Barry

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Pheromones are important components of insect reproductive biology. They play a broader role in praying mantid behaviour by aggregating individuals and facilitating sexual recognition. Female calling behaviour in praying mantids is a specific posture associated with the emission of pheromones. We describe the calling behaviour of female Australian false garden mantids, Pseudomantis albofimbriata (Stal), and identify the age at which they first start calling based on observations conducted both in the laboratory and in large field enclosures. We found that unmated females displayed a characteristic calling posture that exposed coloured abdominal intersegment membranes, whilst exhibiting a rhythmic pumping movement of the abdomen. Unlike other mantid species, P. albofimbriata females did not lift their wings during this display. Both observations showed that the female calling posture is typically adopted throughout the night; however, it predominantly occurs at 2300 hrs. The average female age at first calling is 14 days after adult emergence. We also found that males did not respond to mated females but responded only to the signals emitted by calling unmated females under natural and semi-natural conditions. Males responded towards calling females within a short period (10–15 minutes) and were attracted from long distances. Importantly, female calling behaviour and male response behaviour occurred in a synchronous manner during the entire nocturnal period. This study provides evidence that female calling behaviour and pheromone emission are intimately linked in praying mantids.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-183
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Natural History
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • calling posture
  • pheromone release
  • male arrival pattern
  • male behaviour
  • female age
  • praying mantid

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