Journal of Insect Behavior

, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp 599–612 | Cite as

Mate choice and competition in the barklouseLepinotus patruelis (Psocoptera: Trogiidae): The effect of diet quality and sex ratio

  • Judy Wearing-Wilde


Courtship varies among individuals, partly because individuals differ in quality. To explore proximate factors affecting courtship behavior, I investigated the effect of diet quality on mate choice and competition in the barklouseLepinotus patruelis Pearman (Psocoptera: Trogiidae) in the laboratory. The effect of sex ratio on mate choice was also addressed. Some males were found to exhibit active mate choice, and rejected females in both male- and female-biased sex ratio groups, although they were more likely to do so in a female-biased sex ratio group. Diet quality affected male mate choice: males on high-quality diets were significantly more likely to reject females than males on low-quality diets. Males exhibited choice significantly more often than females, who showed no overt signs of choosiness. Both males and females competed for, access to mates: both sexes attempted to interfere with mounted pairs and females grappled. The choosiness of the male may have directly affected the incidence of female competition. The results also suggest that the patterns of mate choice inL. patruelis differ from those expected by conventional sex role theory.

Key Words

male choice female competition courtship roles operational sex ratio Psocoptera 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Beani, L. and Turillazzi, S. (1988). Alternative mating tactics in males ofPolistes dominulus (Hymenoptera, Vespidae).Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 22: 257–264.Google Scholar
  2. Carroll, S. P., and Corneli, P. S. (1995). Divergence in male mating tactics between 2 populations of the soapberry bug. 2. Genetic change and the evolution of a plastic reaction norm in a variable social-environment.Behav. Ecol. 6: 46–56.Google Scholar
  3. Clutton-Brock, T. H., and Parker, G. A. (1992). Potential reproductive rates and the operation of sexual selection.Q. Rev. Biol. 67: 437–456.Google Scholar
  4. Fahy, E. D. (1971). Some factors in the ecology and dispersal ofLepinotus patruelis Pearman (Psocoptera), a pest of stored products.J. Stored Prod. Res. 7: 107–123.Google Scholar
  5. Foote, C. J. (1988). Male mate choice dependent on male size in salmon.Behavior 106: 63–80.Google Scholar
  6. Fox C. W. (1993). Multiple mating, lifetime fecundity, and female mortality of the bruchid beetle,Callosobruchus maculatus (Coleoptera; Bruchidae).Funct. Ecol. 7: 203–208.Google Scholar
  7. Gwynne, D. T. (1981). Sexual difference theory: Mormon crickets show reversal in mate choice.Science 213: 779–780.Google Scholar
  8. Gwynne, D. T. (1984). Courtship feeding increases female reproductive success in bushcrickets.Nature 307: 361–363.Google Scholar
  9. Gwynne, D. T. (1990). Testing parental investment and the control of sexual selection in the katydids: The operational sex ratio.Am. Nat. 136: 474–484.Google Scholar
  10. Gwynne, D. T. (1991). Sexual competition among females: What causes courtship-role reversal?Trends Ecol. Evol. 6: 118–121.Google Scholar
  11. Gwynne, D. T., and Simmons, L. W. (1990). Experimental reversal of courtship roles in an insect.Nature 346: 172–174.Google Scholar
  12. Johnson, L. K., and Hubbell, S. P. (1984). Male choice: Experimental demonstration in a brentid weevil.Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 15: 183–188.Google Scholar
  13. Kempton, R. A., Lowe, H. J. B., and Bintcliffe, E. J. B. (1980). The relationship between fecundity and adult weight inMyzus persicae.J. Anim. Ecol. 49: 917–926.Google Scholar
  14. Lawlor, B. J., Read, A. F., Keymer, A. E., Parveen, G., and Crompton, D. W. T. (1990). Nonrandom mating in a parasitic worm: Mate choice by males?Anim. Behav. 40: 870–876.Google Scholar
  15. Lawrence, W. S. (1986). Male choice and competition inTetraopes tetraophthalmus: Effects of local sex ratio variation.Behav. Ecol. Sociol. 18: 289–296.Google Scholar
  16. Oneill, K. M., and Evans, H. E. (1983). Body size and alternative mating tactics in the beewolfPhilanthus zebratus (Hymenoptera, Sphecidae).Biol. J Linn. Soc. 20: 175–184.Google Scholar
  17. Owens, I. P. F., Burke, T., and Thompson, D. B. A. (1994). Extraordinary sex roles in the Eurasian dotterel: Female mating arena, female-female competition, and female mate choice.Am. Nat. 144: 76–100.Google Scholar
  18. Parker, G. A. (1983). Mate quality and mating decisions. In Bateson, P. (ed.),Mate Choice, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 141–146.Google Scholar
  19. Pearman, J. V. (1928). On sound production in the Psocoptera and on a presumed stridulatory organ.Entomol. Mon. Mag. 64: 179–187.Google Scholar
  20. Rasmussen, J. L. (1994). The influence of horn and body-size on the reproductive-behavior of the horned rainbow scarab beetlePhanaeus difformis (Coleoptera, Scarabaeidae).J. Insect Behav. 7: 67–82.Google Scholar
  21. Shatral, A. (1993). Diet influences male-female interactions in the bushcricketRequena verticalis (Orthoptera: Tettigoniidae).J. Insect Behav. 6: 379–388.Google Scholar
  22. Shuster, S. M. (1981). Sexual selection in the Socorro isopodThermosphaeroma thermophilium (Cole) (Crustacea: Pericarida).Anim. Behav. 29: 698–707.Google Scholar
  23. Simmons, L. W., and Bailey, W. J. (1990). Resource influenced sex roles of zaprochiline Tettigoniids (Orthoptera: Tettigoniidae).Evolution 44: 1853–1868.Google Scholar
  24. Svensson, B. G., and Petersson E. (1987). Sex-role reversed courtship behavior, sexual dimorphism and nuptial gifts in the dance fly,Empis borealis (L.).Ann. Zool. Fennici 24: 323–334.Google Scholar
  25. Telford, S. R., and Dangerfield, J. M. (1994). Males control the duration of copulation in the tropical millipedeAlloporus uncinatus (Diplopoda, Julida).S. A. J. Zool. 29: 266–268.Google Scholar
  26. Vincent, V., Ahnesjö I., Berglund, A., and Rosenqvist, G. (1992). Pipefishes and seahorses: Are they all sex role reversed?Trends Ecol. Evol. 7: 237–241.Google Scholar
  27. Yasui, Y. (1994). Adaptive-control of copulation duration by males under sperm competition in the mite,Macrocheles muscaedomesticae.Exp. Appl. Acarol. 18: 543–554.Google Scholar
  28. Wearing-Wilde, J. M. (1995a). The reproductive biology ofLepinotus patruelis (Psocoptera): Implications for courtship theory. DPhil dissertation, University of Oxford.Google Scholar
  29. Wearing-Wilde, J. M. (1995b). The sclerotized spermatophore of the barklouseLepinotus patruelis.Tissue Cell 27: 447–456.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Judy Wearing-Wilde
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

Personalised recommendations