In sexually reproducing animals, reproduction entails insemination (the transfer of the male’s sperm to the female) and fertilisation (the fusion of a sperm and an egg to create a diploid zygote). In many insect species, including predators and parasitoids, insemination and fertilisation are temporally separated, from minutes or hours to years (as in many social insects). The term “mating behaviour” refers to the behavioural events surrounding insemination, which ensure successful sperm transfer by the male and uptake by the female as well as, in many species, post-copulatory male behaviours that have evolved in response to sperm competition (Parker, 1970a). Alexander et al. (1997) divided mating behaviour into: pair formation, courtship, copulation, insemination and the events immediately following insemination, including temporary pair-maintenance, and we discuss mating behaviour mainly according to these divisions. Our discussion also includes components of mate competition and fertilisation. A typical sequence of mating behaviour, from the search for mates up to insemination and mate-guarding is shown in Figure 4.1. Figure 4.2 represents the behaviour of the parasitoid wasp Cotesia rubecula (Braconidae) as a specific example.
KeywordsMating Behaviour Sperm Competition Virgin Female Parasitoid Wasp Courtship Display
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