Reproductive Behaviour in Zonocerus elegans (Orthoptera: Pyrgomorphidae) with Special Reference to Nuptial Gift Guarding

Authors

  • Wolfgang Wickler,

    Corresponding author
    1. Max-Planck-Institut für Verhaltensphysiologie, Seewiesen
      Max-Plank-Institut für Verhaltensphysiologie, D-8131 Seewiesen.
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  • Uta Seibt

    Corresponding author
    1. Max-Planck-Institut für Verhaltensphysiologie, Seewiesen
      Max-Plank-Institut für Verhaltensphysiologie, D-8131 Seewiesen.
    Search for more papers by this author

Max-Plank-Institut für Verhaltensphysiologie, D-8131 Seewiesen.

Abstract

Egglaying aggregations, mate fidelity and male and female mate choice and mating behaviour of the African pyrgomorphid grasshopper Zonocerus elegans are described from the field. Several hundred males and females were individually marked at oviposition sites. Pairs remained stable over days, during egglaying and presumably also over the weeks prior to egglaying. In addition to long-term consorting with a female, males may try to obtain inseminations by “footpad”–tactics at oviposition sites.

It is suggested that prolonged consorting and repeated copulations increase the female's reproductive output as well as the male's share in it. Our data and the literature indicate that males are involved not only in rival competition but also in a “battle of the sexes” which females are likely to win. The intra– and intersexual “war on two fronts” results behaviourally in elaborate mating tactics and anatomically in highly developed internal female genitalia and male copulatory organs (well known taxonomic characters). This applies not only to grasshoppers but also to other insects and arthropods.

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