The Science of Nature

, 106:23 | Cite as

First come, first served: precopulatory mate-guarding behavior and male–male contests by a hymenopteran saproxylic parasitoid

  • Kazumu KuramitsuEmail author
  • Thitaree Yooboon
  • Morihiko Tomatsuri
  • Hideo Yamada
  • Tomoyuki Yokoi
Original Paper


Precopulatory mate-guarding behavior is a common strategy that maximizes male reproductive success when female receptivity to copulation is low. This behavior has been demonstrated in vertebrates, aquatic crustaceans, terrestrial isopods, and some species of insects, but there is very little available information about hymenopteran insects. A few studies have clarified the factor that determines the outcome of a contest between a guarding male and an invader male. We investigated the male–male contest and mating behavior of a saproxylic parasitoid wasp, Ibalia japonica (Hymenoptera: Cynipoidea: Ibaliidae) using field observations in Japan. These observations indicated that I. japonica males show precopulatory mate-guarding behavior and that four types of male–male contests occur on the Magnolia liliiflora (Magnoliales: Magnoliaceae) tree that virgin females emerge from. We show that the arrival order of I. japonica males that found the future emergence point of a female was key factor that allowed males to secure virgin females.


Ibalia japonica Ibaliidae Intra-sex competition Mating behavior Siricidae Woodwasp 



We are grateful to the members of staff at the Tsukuba Experimental Forest, University of Tsukuba, Japan for their permission to conduct this study on their land. We are also grateful to Dr. Takuya Uehara (National Agriculture and Food Research Organization, Japan) and Mr. Ryousuke Matsushima (University of Tsukuba, Japan) for providing information on the mating behavior of insects. We are grateful to Mr. Teruhito Ishihara (The University of Melbourne) for helping to improve the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Conservation Ecology, Faculty of Life and Environmental SciencesUniversity of TsukubaTsukubaJapan
  2. 2.Laboratory of Applied Entomology and Zoology, Graduate School of Life and Environmental SciencesUniversity of TsukubaTsukubaJapan
  3. 3.Department of Zoology, Faculty of ScienceKasetsart UniversityBangkokThailand
  4. 4.Shimoda Marine Research CenterUniversity of TsukubaShimodaJapan
  5. 5.Tsukuba Experimental Forest, Mountain Science CenterUniversity of TsukubaTsukubaJapan

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