Adaptive Female-Mimicking Behavior in a Scorpionfly

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Science  27 Jul 1979:
Vol. 205, Issue 4404, pp. 412-414
DOI: 10.1126/science.205.4404.412


This study provides a clear example of female-mimicking behavior by males in insects and evaluates quantitatively the adaptive significance of this behavior, which is poorly understood in many other organisms. Males of Hylobittacus apicalis provide females with a prey arthropod during copulation. Some males mimic female behavior when interacting with males that have captured nuptial prey, resulting in males stealing prey which they will use for copulation. Males that pirate prey copulate more frequently and probably incur fewer predation-related risks.