Saturday, 2 May 2015

Size matters for the goldenrod soldier beetle

Once he has grappled her into position, the goldenrod soldier beetle still has a violent tussle on his hands if he wants to mate with a larger female

For male goldenrod soldier beetles, being bigger and bolder holds certain benefits when finding a female to mate with.

Larger males enjoy higher rates of successful courtship and more often land a larger, more fertile mate, finds a study led by Denson McLain of the Georgia Southern University and published in the journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology.

The goldenrod soldier beetle, also known as the Pennsylvanian leatherwing (Chauliognathus pennsylvanicus) is a native to Northern America and does not have a prolific sex life.

During its peak reproductive season, from September to early October, it mates only once a day, in the afternoon.

A male will engage in short flights to search for foraging females. When he lands near a female, there may follow a chase in which he uses his antennae and forelegs to try to capture her.

Courtship then involves lots of fighting, tussling and evasion tactics on the part of the female, which is generally able to side-step a smaller-sized suitor, but the same doesn't apply when the male is relatively large.

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