Females tagged in wasp mating game

Jan 07, 2013

(Phys.org)—The flick of an antenna may be how a male wasp lays claim to his harem, according to new research at Simon Fraser University.

A team of , led by former PhD graduate student Kelly Ablard, found that when a male targeted a female, he would approach from her from the left side, and once in range, uses the tip of his antenna to tap her antenna.

Ablard suggests the act transfers a yet unidentified specimen-specific onto the female's antenna that marks the female as "out of bounds," or "tagged."

The tagging-pheromone helps a male relocate the females he tagged, and deters non-tagging males from approaching tagged females.

Males who tag females are much quicker courters than their competitors, and thus are likely in better condition physically, Ablard notes. "It is the first male to encounter a female that is likely perceived by females to be high-quality," she says. "Tagged females' of 'unfamiliar' males suggests that tagged females attain a fitness advantage."

The research, published in the journal Behavioural Processes, was carried out in a biology lab at SFU over the past several years.

Ablard, who defended her thesis in December and is set to receive her degree this spring, earlier studied olfactory communication in the slender and slow loris, a small nocturnal primate found in southern India and throughout , respectively.

Explore further: 'Killer sperm' prevents mating between worm species

More information: Paper: www.sciencedirect.com/science/… ii/S0376635712002501

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Female cowbirds prefer less intense male courtship displays

May 03, 2012

In most species, females prefer the most intense courtship display males can muster, but a new study finds that female cowbirds actually prefer less intense displays. The full results are published May 2 in the open access ...

'Paranoia' about rivals alters insect mating behavior

Aug 08, 2011

Scientists at the University of Liverpool have found that male fruitflies experience a type of 'paranoia' in the presence of another male, which doubles the length of time they mate with a female, despite the female of the ...

Vision stimulates courtship calls in the grey tree frog

Nov 19, 2012

Male tree frogs like to 'see what they're getting' when they select females for mating, according to a new study by Dr. Michael Reichert from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the US. His work, which is one of the ...

Recommended for you

'Killer sperm' prevents mating between worm species

14 hours ago

The classic definition of a biological species is the ability to breed within its group, and the inability to breed outside it. For instance, breeding a horse and a donkey may result in a live mule offspring, ...

Rare Sri Lankan leopards born in French zoo

18 hours ago

Two rare Sri Lankan leopard cubs have been born in a zoo in northern France, a boost for a sub-species that numbers only about 700 in the wild, the head of the facility said Tuesday.

Researcher reveals how amphibians crossed continents

20 hours ago

There are more than 7,000 known species of amphibians that can be found in nearly every type of ecosystem on six continents. But there have been few attempts to understand exactly when and how frogs, toads, ...

User comments : 0