Tree Fruit Research & Extension Center

Insect Ecology & Behavior Laboratory

Vince Jones' Research


Codling Moth Behavior Videos

There are three movies that you can download and play. These come from some of our experiments on density dependent mating and age-based mate choice. The two tortricid moths shown in these movies are both serious pests of apples throughout North America: codling moth (CM) (Cydia pomonella) and oblique-banded leafroller (OBLR) (Choristoneura rosaceana). We filmed these videos using Sony digital camcorders with infra-red light which the moths can’t detect. In the videos, you can tell the two apart by size – the CM is considerably smaller than the OBLR.

Videos are best viewed using QiuckTime Player QT_icon Mac Windows

Normal Mating Behavior

The first video, showing normal mating behavior, was taken in one of our three vertical wind tunnels. These tunnels draw air in from the room at the top of the cage and exhaust it outside the lab. Female moths are tethered with a small thread that you can see clipped to the leaf in the video. The volume of this cage is 0.67 m3 and we use it to see how the density of males affects the probability of a female being mated in a single night. We have compared the probability of a female successfully attracting a mate when there is no other source of pheromone or when pheromone caps are used to simulate mating disruption. The experiments allow us to check the effect of pheromone dose as well as the density of males on female mating success. In both clips of this video, the tethered CM females are on the left side and OBLR tethered females are on the right side.

Wrong Mating Behavior

The second video, wrong mating, was also taken in one of our vertical wind tunnels. We have run both the CM and OBLR concurrently, because they share no pheromone components. This allows us to shorten the time required to run the experiments, but had unexpectedly consequences. The male moths are released from a small cage at the bottom of the wind tunnel after they have acclimated to the environment in the tunnel for 1 hour. When the females call, the males get excited and fly upwind to find the females. Normally, they would only go to the appropriate female. However, if the male gets within visual range, he might choose size over species, and in his excited state, attempts to copulate with the female moth. In our studies, we have seen this happen with codling moth attempting to mate with the larger OBLR females. In this video, the calling CM female is on the right side and the calling OBLR female is on the left side. The video starts with the CM male already on the leaf on the left side (he flew up from the bottom of the cage).

Wrong Mating Behavior - Horizontal Tunnel

The third video, cm mating wrong, is similar, but is performed in our horizontal wind tunnel where we were running experiments to determine if females make mate choices based on male age. We release males that are marked with different color fluorescent dusts – one a young male (0-1 after emergence) and one old one (4 days old). They are released at the same time, and video is trained on the females upwind in the wind tunnel. We also examine the females the following day for dust color and dissect the females to determine if sperm packets were passed during copulation. CM tends to fly quicker then OBLR, and those males fly upwind and land on the platform. Notice that the CM female is to the left of the OBLR female in this video. The video shows two clips with CM males attempting to mate with OBLR females.




Vincent P. Jones

Professor & Entomologist

Department of Entomology, Washington State University Tree Fruit Research & Extension Center, Wenatchee, WA 98801

(509) 663-8181 ext. 273 (phone) (509) 662-8714 (fax)



Links of Interest

Codling moth mating videos

Immuno-marking studies

Decision Aid System user statistics


Heading using the h3 tag

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

WSU-Tree Fruit Research & Extension Center, 1100 N Western Ave., Wenatchee, WA 98801 509-663-8181, Contact Us