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Conference papers

The intimate life of cockroaches

Mathieu Lihoreau 1 Colette Rivault 1
1 EVE - Ethologie, éVolution, Ecologie
EthoS - Ethologie animale et humaine
Abstract : Mate choice theories predict that animals evolved strategies to bias their mating towards partners providing the best reproductive returns. Females are generally thought to be more selective than males because of their investment in offspring. However recent evidence suggests that male mate choice has been underestimated in a number of species and mutual mate choice may be more common that initially thought. To reveal and to disentangle roles played by each sex in a mating system, we assume that detailed analyses of precopulatory behavioural sequences are necessary. Here, we report for the first time male and female selectivity in the cockroach Blattella germanica (L.). In this group-living species where adults do not disperse, kin recognition is a key factor for choosing genetically dissimilar mates. Binary choice tests showed that females given a simultaneous choice between two identically related males, either two siblings (r = 0.5) or two non-siblings (0 ≤ r < 0.5), mated preferentially with the male that displayed the most vigorous courtship. When given a choice between a sibling and a non-sibling male, females still mated with the one that displayed the most intensive courtship, which was most often the non-sibling male. When males were given a simultaneous choice between two females, they invested more vigorously in courtship towards non-sibling than toward sibling females, independently to any active role of females. Our results revealed an adaptive mating system with mutual mate choice, where sexes select their mates on different criteria and at different phases in the precopulatory sequence. Males attracted by females come into antennal contact with them, assess their relatedness and invest preferentially in courting non-siblings, whereas females mate with the male that courts the most vigorously. Resulting pairings allow close inbreeding avoidance within aggregates and thereby an important decrease of reproductive success (12%).
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Submitted on : Wednesday, September 7, 2016 - 5:08:40 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, October 19, 2021 - 11:34:14 PM


  • HAL Id : hal-01361903, version 1


Mathieu Lihoreau, Colette Rivault. The intimate life of cockroaches. Colloque Annuel de la Section Française de l’UIEIS, Union Internationale pour l’Etude des Insectes Sociaux; Université Paul Sabatier, Sep 2007, Toulouse, France. ⟨hal-01361903⟩



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