Traditional views of copulation and sperm transfer supposed that females are passive participants. Recent discoveries suggest, however, that females actively influence the chances that a copulation will result in fertilization of their eggs, and that they sometimes signal to males during copulation in order to elicit male responses. This paper concerns two apparent female signaling behaviors, wing vibration and body shaking, in the tsetse fly Glossina pallidipes, a species in which the male squeezes the female’s abdomen rhythmically with his powerful genitalia. Vibration was associated with male squeezes at several levels of analysis. Its coordination with male behavior suggests that vibration functions as a signal that induces the male to interrupt squeezes, but that does not forcefully dislodge the male. The female tended to vibrate her wings soon after the male began a squeeze; and when the female vibrated her wings during a squeeze, the squeeze tended to be shorter. Female body shaking was usually elicited by especially powerful squeezes. Previous studies showed that stimuli from male structures that squeeze the female probably function to induce her to ovulate, to facilitate movement of sperm into her spermathecae, and to reject the sexual advances of additional males. This study is one of the first to document an exchange of signals between male and female insects during copulation, and extends the new field of research on copulatory dialogues.
Journal of Insect Behavior – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 26, 2017
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