Drumming for Love: Mating Behavior in Stoneflies

  • J. Manuel Tierno de FigueroaEmail author
  • Julio M. Luzón-Ortega
  • Manuel Jesús López-Rodríguez


This chapter describes the current knowledge on the mating behavior of stoneflies (Insecta, Plecoptera). Arctoperlarian stoneflies use intersexual vibrational communication as a mechanism for encountering mates and pair forming, acting as a reproductive isolation mechanism. These vibrational signals can be produced by drumming, rubbing, tremulation, or a combination of these methods and are species specific; therefore, they can be used as a method to confirm/infer phylogenies or define species. Of particular interest is our understanding of their evolution from ancestral to derived models. Currently, the vibrational signals of approximately 200 species, mainly from North America, Europe, and, of less concern, Asia, have been described. For those species that do not use vibrational communication (principally Antarctoperlaria) or that occur in particular habitats where it is not effective, other mate-encountering mechanisms are discussed. In relation to non-vibrational mate-encountering mechanisms, some studies seem to show that certain substrates could act as encounter sites by aggregating sexes, both for Arctoperlaria and Antarctoperlaria. Finally, other reproductive behaviors, such as mating (sperm transmission, female stimulation, etc.), formation of mating balls, or mate-guarding strategies (both contact and noncontact guarding mechanisms), are also addressed.


Plecoptera Vibrational communication Encounter sites Reproductive strategies Mate guarding 



The authors thank Drs. Kleber Del Claro and Rhainer Guillermo, editors of this book, for inviting us to collaborate in this exciting project and Mr. J. Ramón Fernández Cardenete for the realization of the drawing in Fig. 6.5 and permission to use the photo in Fig. 6.6. The authors would like to dedicate this chapter to those classic researchers, and particularly to the deceased Drs. Stewart, Szczytko and Rupprecht, that spent decades of their lives studying, observing, and enjoying the adult biology of stoneflies, whose valuable contributions are spread in wonderful books and papers that younger generations should consult and appreciate in order to continue to increase our knowledge on this stimulating topic.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Manuel Tierno de Figueroa
    • 1
    Email author
  • Julio M. Luzón-Ortega
    • 1
  • Manuel Jesús López-Rodríguez
    • 2
  1. 1.Facultad de Ciencias, Departamento de ZoologíaUniversidad de GranadaGranadaSpain
  2. 2.Facultad de Ciencias, Departamento de EcologíaUniversidad de GranadaGranadaSpain

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