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Mate Selection By Asellus (Crustacea: Isopoda)

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image of Behaviour

We have investigated how male Asellus decide whether to enter into precopulatory mate guarding with a female. The presence of a male in precopula does not influence the timing of oviposition in female Asellus aquaticus. Male Asellus are able to distinguish which of two females of identical size is closer to her moult. Males enter precopula with females before the female's ovipository moult but not before moults that are not followed by oviposition. This suggests that the cue that male Asellus use in assessing females is not a substance directly related to the moult cycle, and is possibly a sex hormone. Male Asellus seem to balance the cues of large female size and closeness to oviposition; in this way they are probably able to maximize the number of eggs fertilized per unit time.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Zoology, Institute of Extension Studies respectively, University of Liverpool, U.K.


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