Coercive Copulation in the Alpine Bushcricket Anonconotus alpinus Yersin (Tettigoniidae: Tettigoniinae: Platycleidini)

Authors


Karim Vahed, Division of Biology, School of Environmental & Applied Sciences, University of Derby, Kedleston Road, Derby DE22 1GB, UK. E-mail: k.vahed@derby.ac.uk

Abstract

Sexual coercion in the form of forced copulation is widespread in the animal kingdom and has been documented in several insect taxa. In crickets and bushcrickets (sub-order Ensifera), however, mating typically involves luring acts as opposed to forcing acts. The mating behaviour of the tettigoniid Anonconotus alpinus Yersin, which is described in this paper, appears to be unique amongst the Tettigoniidae (and possibly amongst the Ensifera) in that it is coercive, involving forced matings. Males did not stridulate immediately prior to mating but instead leapt on passing females, using their anal cerci as pincers to maintain a hold on the female's abdomen (which was sometimes damaged in the process). Males appeared to lack a sexual refractory period and attempted to copulate again as little as 18 s following the previous mating.

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