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Mating behaviour

 
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HJ Edwards



Joined: 19 Jul 2009
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2009 4:23 pm    Post subject: Mating behaviour Reply with quote

I found these three Helophilus pendulus by my pond yesterday. Please can you tell me if females mate with more than one male in a short period of time and if so is it usual for mating pairs to be so tolerant of others waiting to mate? Thanks, Helen.
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John O'Sullivan



Joined: 05 Oct 2005
Posts: 128
Location: Sandy, Bedfordshire, UK

PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 12:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for posting these interesting pictures, Helen.
I have occasionally seen this behaviour in hoverflies, and a few other insect groups (as well as higher animals such as toads). I've always assumed that the second male (or sometimes additional males) was just hoping for an opportunity to mate, which would not usually arise, but might just be worth the expenditure of some time. I have further assumed that after a normal mating which she assessed to have been successful, the female would resist further matings (certainly one sees female butterflies discouraging approaches by holding the abdomen straight up). Whether such resistance is uniformly maintained I don't know. Sperm competition is known in many animals, of course, and it can often be in the interest of both males and females to "cheat". I cannot recall having read any reference to it occurring in hoverflies, but perhaps there is someone on the Forum who has.
John
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Tony White



Joined: 12 Mar 2006
Posts: 61
Location: Byfield, Northants

PostPosted: Sat Aug 01, 2009 5:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting topic. Certain male spiders, particularly in the Theridiidae Family, will, after mating, seal the female's genitalia with a "plug" of a waxy substance, presumably to prevent mating by another male. This can sometimes be a nuisance for arachnologists as the details of the female genitalia can be partially obscured, yet these details are crucial for positive identification.
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