Contributions to Zoology, 86 (3) – 2017Xin Tong; Lu Jiang; Bao-Zhen Hua: A unique mating pattern of Panorpodes kuandianensis (Mecoptera: Panorpodidae)

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Mating behavior

Thirteen pairs of P. kuandianensis were recorded to mate in the morning and three of them were frozen in copulation. The male provided a salivary mass to a nearby female and tried to attract her through vibrating his wings rapidly (Fig. 1a). Then he stretched out his paired gonostyli to grasp the abdominal end of the female, used his hypandrium to seize the female cerci and attempted to establish the connection of the genitalia. Meanwhile, the female usually tried to get rid of the male control by wriggling her abdomen. To suppress the female resistance, generally, the male adjusted his posture and seized the female abdomen by the paired basal processes and the basal teeth to couple their genitalia and guarantee the sperm transfer. In the initial phase of copulation, the male randomly stood on one side of the female (six left-sided matings and seven right-sided matings) to sustain a V-shaped position with their genitalia coupled (Fig. 1b). While the female consumed the salivary mass, the male changed the mating position from the V-shape to an end-to-end position (Fig. 1c). The male kept on pulling the female till the end of copulation, and some females (2 of 10) were observed to invert their bodies before terminating copulation (Fig. 1d).


Fig. 1. Mating position of Panorpodes kuandianensis. a, a male is secreting a salivary mass as a nuptial gift; b, initial phase of copulation with the coupling pair sustaining a V-shaped position, arrow points at the salivary mass; c, stable phase of copulation, the coupling pair sustains an end-to-end position with the female abdomen twisted; d, final phase of copulation, the coupling pair sustains an end-to-end position with the female body inverted.