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Previous exposure to other males leads to prolonged copulation by a predatory true bug (Hemiptera: Heteroptera: Anthocoridae)

  • David R. Horton (a1)


Mating pairs of Anthocoris whitei Reuter (Hemiptera: Heteroptera: Anthocoridae) irregularly exhibit copulations exceeding five hours in duration. In other Heteroptera, male-biased sex ratios or high densities of male conspecifics may lead to prolonged copulation. I tested whether exposure to conspecific males preceding access to females led to prolonged copulations by A. whitei. Copulations in which the male had been exposed to other males were significantly longer (by 60+ minutes) than copulations in which the male had not been exposed to other males. Durations exceeded five hours in several pairings following exposure to other males. Almost 75% of copulations in which males had not been exposed to other males were <100 minutes in duration, whereas only 22%–29% of copulations involving males that had been exposed to other males were <100 minutes in duration. Atypically long copulations by this species may be a form of postinsemination mate guarding to prevent insemination of a guarded female by other males.



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