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The love life of stoneflies a behavioral ecological view

Fauna och Flora Naturhistoriska Riksmuseet 81(6): 207-214

The love life of stoneflies a behavioral ecological view

The Stoneflies (Plecoptera) are aquatic insects whose nymphal stages are predominantly found in running water. Adults of most species stay close to the stream water. Adults of most species stay close to the stream after emergence, but for some species the necessity of food intake for egg maturation may cause dispersal of females. Only a few stonefly species with polyandrous mating systems are known, but the factors governing their polyandry are not known. Males who mate with several females raise their reproductive success with each mating, and thus polygyny is expected to dominate among male mating systems, as is the case for stoneflies. The potential for monopolizing females or resources is probably low in Plecoptera, and instead males are involved in a race to find receptive females. Receptive females should be looked for in places where they are most concentrated. Emergence site searching is favoured by males of many species, as females are receptive soon after emergence and mate only once. In other species, female receptivity comes later after emergence, and it is probable that males use other searching strategies. The production of drumming signals is the predominant method to locate females. Signals are produced by beating the tip of the abdomen on the substrate, creating vibratory calls. Males and receptive females drum and the signals are specific both to sex and species. Females can be located either by the intensity of the signal or by sensing at the division of stems in vegetation. Mating is uncomplicated with males being positioned on the back of females. A specific body pose is used by females who want to reject courting males.

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