Larval developmental temperature and ambient temperature affect copulation duration in a seed beetle

In: Behaviour
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  • 1 University of East Anglia, School of Biological Sciences, Norwich Research Park, Norwich, UK
  • | 2 School of Life Sciences, University of Lincoln, Joseph Banks Laboratories, Lincoln, LN6 7DL, UK
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The effects of temperature on cellular, systemic and whole-organism processes can be short-term, acting within seconds or minutes of a temperature change, or long-term, acting across ontogenetic stages to affect an organism’s morphology, physiology and behavioural phenotype. Here we examine the effect of larval development temperature on adult copulatory behaviour in the bruchid beetle, Callosobruchus maculatus. As predicted by temperature’s kinetic effects, copulation duration was longest at the lowest ambient temperature. However, where ambient temperature was fixed and developmental temperature experimentally varied, males reared at the highest temperature were least likely to engage in copulation, whilst those reared at the lowest temperature copulated for longer. Previous research has shown males reared at cooler temperatures inseminate fewer sperm. Thus, in this species longer copulations are associated with reduced sperm transfer. We argue that knowledge of preceding ontogenetic conditions will help to elucidate the causes of variation in copulatory behaviour.

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