Influence of nutrition on courtship and mating in the scorpionfly Panorpa cognata

Engqvist L, Sauer KP (2003)
Ethology 109(11): 911-928.

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Scorpionflies have been used as model organisms for the study of alternative male mating tactics as well as sexual conflict and coercive mating. Here we describe the courtship and mating behaviour of the scorpionfly Panorpa cognata at different levels of nutrition. Alternative mating tactics in scorpionflies involve nuptial food gifts, and we expected an effect of nutrient availability and male individual condition on the relative frequency of these mating tactics. Subsequent to female attraction by means of male pheromonal emission (calling) and a conspicuous pairing prelude, the majority of matings were initiated by male secretion of one relatively large salivary mass on which females feed during copulation. Usually, males produced only a single salivary mass per mating, and the copulation was terminated after the female had consumed the salivary mass. Alternatively, in 40% of the copulations, males offered females a dead arthropod as nuptial gift. However, these matings were neither preceded by male calling nor by the pairing prelude. Copulations with no gifts were extremely rare, and forced copulations were absent. The manipulation of the clamp-like notal organ used by male scorpionflies in coercive matings had no effect on the duration of copulation, suggesting that P. cognata males are not able to enforce longer matings. Copulations involving salivary mass gifts were significantly longer than copulations with prey provided as gifts. Although contrary to our expectations, nutrition had no effect on the relative frequency of the different male mating tactics, it had several effects on courtship and mating. First, well-fed individuals copulated significantly more often, both with prey and salivary secretions, than individuals with limited nutrient resources available. This was true for both sexes, although the effect was stronger for males. Higher availability of nutrients decreased the time until male and female sexual maturity and increased male calling duration per day. Furthermore, high nutrient availability decreased the duration of the pairing prelude, and consequently pairs started copulating earlier at night in the high nutrient treatment.
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Engqvist L, Sauer KP. Influence of nutrition on courtship and mating in the scorpionfly Panorpa cognata. Ethology. 2003;109(11):911-928.
Engqvist, L., & Sauer, K. P. (2003). Influence of nutrition on courtship and mating in the scorpionfly Panorpa cognata. Ethology, 109(11), 911-928.
Engqvist, L., and Sauer, K. P. (2003). Influence of nutrition on courtship and mating in the scorpionfly Panorpa cognata. Ethology 109, 911-928.
Engqvist, L., & Sauer, K.P., 2003. Influence of nutrition on courtship and mating in the scorpionfly Panorpa cognata. Ethology, 109(11), p 911-928.
L. Engqvist and K.P. Sauer, “Influence of nutrition on courtship and mating in the scorpionfly Panorpa cognata”, Ethology, vol. 109, 2003, pp. 911-928.
Engqvist, L., Sauer, K.P.: Influence of nutrition on courtship and mating in the scorpionfly Panorpa cognata. Ethology. 109, 911-928 (2003).
Engqvist, Leif, and Sauer, Klaus Peter. “Influence of nutrition on courtship and mating in the scorpionfly Panorpa cognata”. Ethology 109.11 (2003): 911-928.
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