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The Coevolution of Receptivity Signalling and Body-Size Dimorphism in the Chalcidoidea

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In the Chalcidoidea (small hymenopterous parasites of the developmental stages of many kinds of insects) two evolutionary trends can be traced: reduction of male size, and switch of the courtship position of the male relative to the female from rear to front. The positional shift is related to the development of antennal movements produced by the female at the onset of sexual receptivity. The signal function of these movements was shown with experiments including the use of dummies. The experimental results are discussed in relation to selective pressures shaping courtship and mating behaviour in the Chalcidoidea.

Affiliations: 1: Division of Ethology, Dept. of Zoology, University of Leiden, The Netherlands


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