Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 28, Issue 6, pp 391–396 | Cite as

Pre-mating sperm removal in the bushcricket Metaplastes ornatus Ramme 1931 (Orthoptera, Tettigonoidea, Phaneropteridae)

  • Dagmar von Helversen
  • Otto von Helversen


Mating in the bushcricket Metaplastes ornatus Ramme 1931 entails a number of peculiar genital couplings that precede the transfer of the large spermatophore. During these “phase-I couplings,” the male introduces his specially structured subgenital plate into the female's genital chamber, performs back-and-forth movements, and turns her genital chamber inside out when he withdraws, whereupon the female carefully cleans her everted genital chamber with her mouthparts. During the last coupling (phase II) the male's subgenital plate is not introduced but the large spermatophore, which averages 22% of a male's body weight, is transferred. Counts of sperm in the spermathecae of females suggested that the phase-I couplings, which occur prior to spermatophore transfer, function to remove, or at least to reduce, the sperm of a female's previous mates. The form of the keel of the male's subgenital plate, its position within the female's genital tract during phase-I couplings, and the back-and-forth movements suggest that the male may stimulate release of sperm from the female's spermatheca by a mechanism similar to fertilization as eggs pass through the genital chamber during oviposition.


Sperm Competition Genital Plate Genital Region Behav Ecol Subgenital Plate 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dagmar von Helversen
    • 1
  • Otto von Helversen
    • 1
  1. 1.Zoologisches Institut der UniversitätErlangenFederal Republic of Germany

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