Journal of Insect Behavior

, Volume 21, Issue 6, pp 495–504 | Cite as

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder: Isolation Enhances the Frequency of Mating in Coleomegilla maculata (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae)

  • Jason P. Harmon
  • Andrea Hayden
  • D. A. Andow


Mating behavior can be a dynamic process that depends upon the insects’ environment and condition. We performed a series of experiments to see if isolating individual ladybeetles changed the frequency of mating compared to when they were kept in mixed-sex groups. Our results indicate that individuals isolated for only 1 day were 26 times more likely to mate than individuals kept in a mixed-sex group. Isolation of either sex will increase the propensity to mate, but isolating males had a stronger effect than isolating females. We further demonstrate how isolating could be used as a technique for studying some aspects of mating behavior by showing that there is large variation in the frequency of remating amongst maternal lines.


Coccinellid density-dependent behavior mating behavior polyandry 



The authors thank Jen White, Chad Harvey, and members of the Andow and Rosenheim labs for their critical reviews and helpful comments. JPH was primarily supported by a grant from the National Center for Environmental Research (NCER) STAR Program, EPA. All experiments comply with the laws of the USA.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jason P. Harmon
    • 1
    • 2
  • Andrea Hayden
    • 1
  • D. A. Andow
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Entomology and Minnesota Center for Community GeneticsUniversity of MinnesotaSt. PaulUSA
  2. 2.Department of ZoologyUniversity of WisconsinMadisonUSA

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