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Lateralized courtship in a parasitic wasp

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Lateralization (i.e. left-right asymmetries in the brain and behaviour) of courtship displays has been examined in a growing number vertebrate species, while evidence for invertebrates is limited. In this study, we investigated lateralization of courtship and mating displays in the parasitic wasp Leptomastidea abnormis. Results showed a population-level lateralization of male courtship displays. Male antennal tapping on the female's head was right-biased. However, right-biased male courtship acts were not characterized by higher male antennal tapping frequencies, nor success in mating although antennal tapping frequency was higher in males with mating success with respect to unsuccessful males. Overall, our results add basic knowledge to the behavioural ecology of insect parasitoids. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of behavioural lateralization in parasitic Hymenoptera.
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Keywords: Antennal contact; Hymenoptera; behavioural asymmetry; mating behaviour; parasitoid

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: The BioRobotics Institute, Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pontedera, Italy 2: Insect Behavior Group, Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy 3: Kauai Agricultural Research Center, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Kapaa, HI, USA

Publication date: May 3, 2016

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