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Acoustic Communication and Mating Behaviour in the Muellerianella Complex (Homoptera - Delphacidae)

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Some data on acoustic communication and mating behavior of two biparentally reproducing species and the clonally reproducing pseudogamous "species" of the genus Muellerianella are reported. Although bioacoustic differences were found in the calling songs between the species, these did not prevent pairforming. Also, differences in mating behavior, such as pre-copulation behavior, courtship activities, frequency and duration of copulation were not sufficient to prevent successful hybridization between both the two biparentally reproducing species and between each of these two species and the pseudogamous "species". The data reported here are related to other biological differences reported previously. According to these data there is some evidence that differences in acoustic communication and mating behavior between the two species are established by ecological influences which in turn have established analogous physiological requirements. These differences are rather weak isolating mechanisms. Regarding the behavioral relation of the pseudogamous species with males of the two parental species it was found that these females behave exactly as the females of M. fairmairei with which they coexist in the field. In interspecific crosses mechanical barriers to copulation are more efficient than courtship differences. Finally it is assumed that pseudogamy is a strong isolation mechanism between the not yet fully genetically differentiated bisexual species of Muellerianella.

Affiliations: 1: (Laboratory of Entomology, Agricultural University, Wageningen, The Netherlands


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