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Etude Experimentale Des Modalites De Communication Dans Le Comportement Sexuel De Calliphora Vomitoria (Diptera, Calliphoridae). 2. Role De La Tete Du Partenaire Sexuel

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This paper analyzes the consequences of modifications of the head of the sexual partner on the initiation and behavioural processing of the courtship of the male Calliphora vomitoria. Experiments were made with male and female specimen without head, with an inverted head, or a head of the other sex. Courtship was quantitatively evaluated with respect to the latency time of the first contact the male made with the female, the duration of courtship and of the main acts performed, the frequency of these acts as well as the sequences in which they occurred, and the number of copulations. The results show that the structure of the male's courtship varies according to anatomical characteristics of the head of the partner. It seems that first, from a short distance, visual features of the head and especially of the inter-ocular space (which anatomically differs between the sexes) direct the male; they are of more importance than the integrated structure of the anterioposterior axis of the insect. After contact is made the male collects, on the basis of the visual information received, tactile and chemical information, mainly by drumming the head and specifically the interocular space with its prothoracic legs. Courtship was most severely disrupted to females with inverted heads; second to it came that to female decoys with male heads. On the basis of the results obtained the experiments can be arranged on a gliding scale from "perverted" to normal courtship. Several different courtship sequences can be effectuated with the activities available in the repertoire. Lack of signals from a decoy seem to be less of a handicap than false signals. The data suggest that for the organisation of normal courtship a certain coherence has to exist among the sensory stimuli, their order of appearance signalling the female's body. An internal image of the female seems to be compared with the pattern of stimulation received by the male.

Affiliations: 1: Centre de Recherche en Biologie du Comportement, CNRS URA n°664, 118 Route de Narbonne, 31062 Toulouse, France


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