Role reversal: male gets easy ride in insect courtship

As a male, how does free transport, free food and, as a bonus for your hard work, unlimited sex with your chosen female partner sound?

Well, University of Melbourne scientists in collaboration with a Swedish colleague have found a tiny voracious water bug where the female of the species lays all this on for their male partner, the first time such nuptial behaviour, at least the food for sex part, has ever been observed in female animals.

Their findings will appear in the next issue of Nature (24 July 2003).

Evolution has generally dictated that it is usually the male that lavishes the female with expensive gifts (usually food) and often risks life and limb to secure the opportunity to pass on his genes to the next generation. Females are typically choosy, picking only the best males while also getting enough food to ensure their offspring are well fed and inherit the quality attributes from their father.

The tiny Zeus bug (Phoreticovelia disparata) is a water skater common along Australia's east coast. Its behaviour, which defies this norm, has scientists baffled.

"All the advantages in this relationship seem to fall to the male with no obvious advantage for the female, yet the female Zeus bug seems a willing partner in this one-sided affair," says paper author, Dr. Mark Elgar, University of Melbourne Department of Zoology.

The male Zeus bug at about 1mm in length and half the size of the female will piggy-back on his female mate, seating himself comfortably in a seemingly custom-made hollow. During the ride, the male sups on an all-you-can-eat protein-packed wax the female secretes from a gland near her head. All that remains for the male is to get down to the serious business of mating with the female.

"The male can ride the female, feeding and mating for up to a week," says Elgar

"The female usually produces the wax feed when a male is riding her and she will continue to produce it for as long as

Contact: Jason Major
University of Melbourne

Page: 1 2

Related biology news :

1. Essential smell gene may provide key to new insect repellents
2. The insect police: Why social insects punish cheating comrades
3. Increasing international insect threat to stored food
4. New model explains why costly insect outbreaks hard to predict
5. New study in moths shows insects not entirely ruled by instinct
6. Origin of West Indian insect eater much older than previously thought
7. Flies may taste bitter better, first map of insect tongue reveals
8. Changes to insect-seeking calls of horseshoe bats may drive new species formation
9. Yale researchers discover new potential asthma therapeutic targets related to parasites and insects
10. K-State researchers share $1 million grant to study insect pests
11. Male susceptibility to disease may play role in evolution of insect societies

Post Your Comments:

(Date:3/20/2020)... ... March 20, 2020 , ... ImStem Biotechnology, ... cell (ESC) derived mesenchymal stem cells (hES-MSC), through a proprietary method using a ... autoimmune, and rare orphan diseases, today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug ...
(Date:3/13/2020)... ... 13, 2020 , ... Cryo-Cell International’s announcement is concurrent with ... Dr. Hal Boxmeyer and colleagues, which determined sample viability of 23.5 years and ... conditions. Cryo-Cell International marks the first family cord blood bank to release results ...
(Date:3/11/2020)... ... 11, 2020 , ... USARAD Holdings Inc., the leading US ... healthcare VC firms introduces a first of its kind COVID-19 screening program. The ... caused over 4,000 fatalities to date. Over the years, USARAD through its SecondOpinions.com ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/10/2020)... , ... February 10, 2020 , ... R3 Medical Training ... March 13-14th, 2020 in Las Vegas. The course is hands on involving real ... For the past few years, the Comprehensive Stem Cell Training Course has received rave ...
(Date:2/5/2020)... ... February 05, 2020 , ... Rare Disease Day® ... by The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD), to raise awareness amongst the general ... ). The Balancing Act’s “Behind The Mystery” rare disease series will be ...
(Date:2/3/2020)... and CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (PRWEB) , ... February 03, ... ... Budapest with US offices in Cambridge, MA, announce that OmniType, the 11-locus, single ... (EAP) from today. OmniType is a best-in-class product featuring locus-multiplexing and short library ...
(Date:1/28/2020)... ... January 28, 2020 , ... ... biopharmaceutical R&D, today announced the release of Genedata Expressionist ® 13.5 ... the implementation of Multi-Attribute Methods (MAM) for characterizing and monitoring the quality ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: