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Sex is thirst-quenching for female beetles
Date:8/28/2007

ion of nuptial gifts, which are an important part of insect courtship and mating.

Dr Edvardsson argues that the trade-off between the costs and benefits of mating is essential to the mating behaviour of female bruchid beetles. The males have spines on their genitalia that puncture the females reproductive tract as they mate. Because of the damage this causes, females must carefully trade off the costs and benefits of mating, and limit the number of times they mate depending on their need for water and sperm.

Because there are always costs as well as benefits associated with mating, similar trade-offs are likely to be important in many species where males provide their mates with material resources. The key thing says Dr Edvardsson is that the resource provided by males is less beneficial to females the more of it they already have, like water or food for example.

Though Dr Edvardsson believes these findings may be relevant to many other animal species, he does not think the study has any implications for our understanding of sexual behaviour in all other animals. He concludes: This is unlikely to occur in say, mammals and birds, because it is impossible for a male to give a female a gift that would fulfill her needs for food or water for such a long period of time. Also, while many female insects can store live sperm inside for long periods of time, females of these species need relatively fresh sperm to fertilize their eggs.


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Contact: Abigail Dixon
Abigail.Dixon@exeter.ac.uk
44-139-226-2307
University of Exeter
Source:Eurekalert

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