SIGNALS USED BY INSECTS TO ATTRACT A MATE FOR SEXUAL REPRODUCTION
Insects are the most dominant species than any other kind of living creature. About 95% of all the animal species on the earth are insects. Million Insects can exist in a single acre of land. Insects are able to occur in large number because they can give a large number of off springs and they need only small amount of food. They can successfully live in most environments on earth for example desert.
Most insects mate and reproduce sexually between male and female. In insects females can still reproduce without male and this is common to the aphids. They may reproduce by laying eggs and in other insects, eggs hatch inside the female. Eggs can be laid in different places. For example locusts lay their eggs in a small hole until they hatched.
However, there are different signals which the insects use to attract a mate for sexual reproduction. Different semiochemicals are used by insects to attract mating partner. These chemicals mediate interaction between organisms. The chemicals are divided into allelochemicals and pheromones depending on the nature of interactions if it was interspecific or intraspecific. Allelochemicals are those chemicals that important to individuals of a species that are different from the source species. Pheromones are released by a certain species with the effect of having the attraction to the same kind of species.
Insects uses different ways to attract mating partner, which includes movement, colour, sound, vision and glands. For example, the female butterflies will develop some form of movement. The males will then chase those that show that behaviour and then the mating will take place. Male flies also form a compact swarms to attract females for mating. These insects also show some characteristics when coming to mating. These can be seen where male a required to have a form of gift or food to please the female. Fighting is another way where males compete for females, showing the survival of the fittest.
The female moths have scent glands on their abdomen which secrete pheromones to attract the male moth. The smell of these glands is easily detected by the male moth at a distance that can range from four to eleven kilometres. Sometimes the males secrete pheromone just to induce the females so that they mate.
The other interesting way in which insects attract each other for mating is through sound. Other insects that mostly use sound include mosquitoes, crickets, and grasshoppers. Female mosquitoes produce a note Sound which attracts the male mosquitoes. The male mosquitoes are attracted to the note or sound produced by the wing vibration of the wing. Female grasshoppers, crickets and cicadas are attracted by the sound produced by their males.
Some male insects have some special techniques they use to protect their sperms from other males. This includes guarding the female to prevent her from mating with other male. Genital plugging where accessory glands produce chemicals which plug the vagina allowing female to mate only once. Another technique is when the male scoop the sperms of previous males from female system using apparatus.
These special characteristics of insects prove that they are really the dominant in all living organism and they will continue to dominate every part of the earth.
How do the sexes find each other, [Internet] [cited 2006 may 8] Available: http://bugs.bio.usyd.edu.au/Entomology/InternalAnatomy/reproduction.html
Mr Lufuno Mukwevho
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