The effect of female body size on male mounting behaviour in Dermacentor variabilis and D. andersoni

HAMILTON, J. G.C. and SONENSHINE, D. E. (1995) The effect of female body size on male mounting behaviour in Dermacentor variabilis and D. andersoni. Medical and Veterinary Entomology, 9 (3). pp. 219-223. ISSN 0269-283X

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This study was undertaken to determine if body size of female ticks was an important factor in eliciting the mating behaviour of Dermacentor variabilis and D. andersoni males. Dummy female ticks (DFTs) representing varying sizes of feeding females were prepared from plastic beads. Size of DFT was shown to be important in determining both the time spent by males in contact with DFTs and the extent of male mating response released. Dermacentor varlabilis males preferred the smaller‐sized DFT, whereas D. andersoni males preferred the larger sizes. Males of both species were able to discriminate between size of DFT only when mounting sex pheromone (MSP) was present. Size of the DFT was more important than the composition of the MSP extract in determining the time males spent in contact with DFTs. Males of both species were sensitive to variations in concentration of extract, and spent 2–6 times longer in contact with DFTs when the concentration was optimal than when it was not. No significant difference in the male's mating response was seen in response to variation in concentration of heterospecific extract. Male mating response, i.e. the behaviour of the male as it progresses through the initial contact, climbing onto the dorsal surface and turning onto the venter, was shown not to be dependent upon how long the male spent in contact with the DFT. Male D. andersoni had a much lower mating response to DFTs than D. variabilis males, suggesting that some further stimulus may be required.

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Journal Article
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Medical and Veterinary Entomology
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22 Jun 2019 08:53
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22 Nov 2022 06:52