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Post-copulatory Mounting Behavior of the West Indian Sweetpotato Weevil, Euscepes postfasciatus (Fairmaire) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae)


Yukie Sato, National Agriculture Research Center, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8666, Japan.


Post-copulatory associations between males and females have been found in a variety of insects and are often described as mate guarding. Males of the West Indian sweetpotato weevil Euscepes postfasciatus (Fairmaire) mount the female's back after copulation. Two hypotheses have been advanced to explain this behavior: mate guarding to prevent future copulations by rivals (hypothesis 1), and mate guarding to gain additional copulations (hypothesis 2). We conducted three experiments to test predictions from these hypotheses. Our results disproved hypothesis 1 because the duration of the post-copulatory association was very brief in comparison with the length of the refractory phase all females showed after copulation. When we prevented females from resisting copulations during the post-copulatory mounted phase males copulated again, while under normal conditions, a second copulation was never observed. This result may indicate the presence of a sexual conflict over mating. However, we propose an alternative interpretation of the result, namely that after mating, males test whether the copulation has successfully reduced female receptivity by attempting to remate. If females resist the mating, males leave.