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The Effect of Age On the Performance of an Innate Behaviour Pattern in Mormoniella Vitripennis Walk. (Hymenoptera, Pteromalidae)

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The behaviour of male Mormoniella vitripennis Walk., in their first performance of an innate behaviour pattern (Courtship), is analysed by dual quantification. Quantitative changes in this pattern are noted as the insect becomes older. There is a slowing up in the performance of the pattern. Also, older males spend more time on the female and perform more courtship movements. These changes are discussed and shown to be separable from "Improvement" due to learning. It is concluded that animals used in quantitative behaviour studies should be standardised with regard to age.

Affiliations: 1: Wellcome Research Fellow in Zoology, The University College of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, Salisbury, S. Rhodesia

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