Journal of Comparative Physiology A

, Volume 184, Issue 3, pp 325–332

Post-mating effects in the grasshopper, Gomphocerus rufus L. mediated by the spermatheca

  • R. Hartmann
  • W. Loher

DOI: 10.1007/s003590050330

Cite this article as:
Hartmann, R. & Loher, W. J Comp Physiol A (1999) 184: 325. doi:10.1007/s003590050330


In the female grasshopper Gomphocerus rufus mating replaces copulatory readiness with immediate and long-lasting `secondary defense', during which further mating attempts are efficiently repelled. The behavioral change is caused by secretions from the male accessory glands' white secretory tubule 1 which is injected with the spermatophore material into the female's spermathecal duct. A bristle field of contact chemoreceptors at the entry of the spermathecal duct into the endbulb is assumed to be stimulated by the secretion. Ablation of the bristle field, interruption of the nervous pathway between the spermatheca and the ventral nervecord, or severance of the latter sustains sexual receptivity after mating. Both the secretion from white secretary tubule 1 and the spermatophore contained in the spermatheca of a mated female are digested by proteolytic enzymes from spermathecal gland cells. Dissolved material is resorbed by similar glandular-like cells. The intersexual conflicts of interest and their evolutionary consequences are discussed.

Key words Grasshopper Defensive behavior Spermatheca Contact chemoreceptors Accessory gland secretion 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Hartmann
    • 1
  • W. Loher
    • 2
  1. 1.Biologisches Institut 1, Universität Freiburg, D-79104 Freiburg, GermanyDE
  2. 2.Division of Insect Biology, University of California at Berkeley, CA 94720, USAUS

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