Feature Story

Mating in Insects

mating in insects2
mating pair
mating in insect3
beetle mating
Insect in courtship
Pre-mating scene
mating in insects
Close up

Most of the insects mate the good old-fashioned way, with the male and female genitalia coming into direct contact with one another. But first, the pair must find each other and agree to mate. Many insects use extensive courtship rituals to choose their sexual partners. When copulation finally occurs, the male inserts part of his aedeagus into the female's reproductive tract. In many cases, this requires two steps. First, the male extend the aedeagus from his abdomen. Then, he extends his male sex organ further by averting an inner, elongate tube called the endophallus.

Some insects have telescoping male sex organs. This extension enables the male to deposit his sperm deep within the female's reproductive tract. The male feels a good amount of effort into pleasuring his partner. The male indulges in copulatory courtship - behaviour that appears to stimulate the female during mating. In some insect species, there are no signs of rituals preceding mating. Most insects, however, engage in routines that are uniquely characteristic of the species. Females are often stroked by the males, by use of legs or antennae. The male may tap, or bite the body or legs of the female, wave antennae, produce sounds, or thrust or vibrate parts of his genitalia. Dance patterns may be performed, wings may be fluttered or moved in circles, or short flights may occur. Depending on the species, the female receives the sperm in a special pouch or chamber, or into a spermatheca, a storage sac for sperm.

In some insects, such as honey bees, the sperm remains viable for the remainder of her life. Special secretory cells within the spermatheca nourish the sperm, keeping them healthy and active until needed. When an egg moves into the oviduct, a contraction of the spermatheca pushes sperm through the spermathecal duct. In the oviduct, the sperm meets and fertilizes the egg.

After mating, there is danger for some males. Praying mantis females sometimes eat their mates, starting with the head. After mating, however, the main concern is the oviposition of eggs in a place that does not expose them to predation. Once the eggs are deposited, the adult females leave the scene. Methods and patterns of laying eggs are extremely varied, generally peculiar to the species. Commonly, females deposit their eggs near, on, or in the food of the immature stage. Here are few shots captured for this story. Hope you all read and give your valuable comments. Thank you.

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