Sounds produced in relation to the sexual behaviour of the tsetse, Glossina m. morsitans, were investigated. During mating, a receptive virgin female adopted a relatively passive role while the male produced sound and drummed her with the tarsi of the meso- and metathoracic legs upto about 4–5 min immediately after mounting. During the long cppulatory phase, the male only produced sound when the female became restless or the pair was disturbed. No sounds were produced during the ejaculatory phase after which the flies separated.
Immediately after separation, the females were often receptive for further short copulations, but were completely unreceptive 24 hr later and showed vigorous repellent behaviour. The post-copulatory behaviour patterns and the rejection behaviour of the female were also accompanied by sound production. Although males readily mated with freshly killed females with the usual mating behaviour, sound production was less intense than when the females were live.
Mating sounds were composed of frequencies up to 50 kHz with the exception of the sounds produced by males, while mating with freshly killed females which not only lacked any ultrasonic components, but were also of low intensity. The most dominant frequency was centered between 1.5 and 2.5 kHz. Peaks were also observed between 0.5 and 0.8 kHz, around 5 and 9 kHz. On the basis of intensity, it is suggested that the frequency components below 10 kHz carry the most important part of the acoustic signal.