Mate Location Mechanism and Phase-Related Mate Preferences in Solitarius Desert Locust, Schistocerca Gregaria.
Ely, S. O.
Njagi, P. G.
Bashir, M. O.
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Mate location responses of male and female solitary-reared locusts that had either experienced no crowding or that had been crowded for varying periods were studied in a flatbed wind tunnel. Two hypotheses were explored: that both sexes of this phase of the locust participate in locating the other by using a combination of chemical and visual signals, and that individuals that experience some crowding (i.e., undergo varying levels of phase shift) can compete effectively with their solitary counterparts in mate location and mating. Our results confirm that both male and female solitarious locusts actively participate in mate location, although the former is the more aggressive partner. The responses of the insects are stronger when a visual cue is provided with the olfactory signal. Crowding of solitary-reared adults enhances their responsiveness to the other sex in the absence and presence of the visual cue. This phenomenon may constitute one of several mechanisms that are involved in recruiting solitary individuals into gregarizing groups and facilitating the spread of gregarious characters across a reproductively active solitarious population.