Mating activity of Pyrrhocoris apterus (Heteroptera: Pyrrhocoridae) in nature

June 2019
European Journal of Entomology;6/14/2019, Vol. 116, p187
Academic Journal
The mating behaviour of Pyrrhocoris apterus in the laboratory is well studied, but little is known about it under natural conditions. In natural populations in Central Europe, overwintered adults start copulating in March and continue until their death. Caged females, kept under natural conditions in the permanent presence of males, copulated repeatedly. Their mating activity increased sharply until early April, then very slowly until the end of June and then declined as the females die-off. Half of copulations were short (< 5 h) and only 9% were longer than 1 day. By contrast, in natural populations, mating activity (percentage of individuals involved in copula) reached its maximum in April and then decreased until early July, when the overwintered adults die. The decline in mating frequency (percentage of adults involved in copula) was associated with a decrease in the availability of receptive females towards the end of the mating period. For a female, repeated copulation is necessary because sperm is nearly depleted after insemination of 3-5 egg batches.


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