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Which sex controls the duration of postcopulatory courtship and to what effect in the parasitoid wasp Spalangia endius

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image of Behaviour

Resistance by females during a reproductive interaction is thought to reflect conflict between the sexes over the optimal outcome. In the parasitoid wasp, Spalangia endius, the female attempts to brush the male off her back with her hind legs after a few seconds of postcopulatory courtship. Although males do not dismount immediately, this signal is effective. Removal of female hind legs resulted in postcopulatory courtship that was longer, although a normal duration was sufficient to turn off a female's receptivity permanently. Responding immediately to the signal was not advantageous to males. When postcopulatory courtship was experimentally terminated as soon as females began signalling, they sometimes remained attractive and receptive to subsequent males. However, earlier studies suggest that for most if not all females, mating a second time would not increase the production of daughters or of total offspring, and being mounted interferes with oviposition. Thus, the normal duration of postcopulatory courtship is determined by the behaviour of both the male and the female, and currently this may usually be better for both partners than a duration determined by just one partner. Coevolution between the sexes may have mitigated previous conflict, and remaining resistance may reflect the ghost of conflict past.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Biological Sciences, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL 60115, USA

10.1163/000579510X501421
/content/journals/10.1163/000579510x501421
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/content/journals/10.1163/000579510x501421
2010-07-01
2016-12-08

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