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Received 18 April 2003 Accepted 8 July 2003

Summary: Received 18 April 2003
Accepted 8 July 2003
Published online 10 September 2003
Costly traumatic insemination and a female
counter-adaptation in bed bugs
Edward H. Morrow*
and Go¨ran Arnqvist
Uppsala University, Evolutionary Biology Centre, Department of Animal Ecology, Norbyva¨gen 18D, SE-752 36 Uppsala,
Male bed bugs pierce females through the body wall and inseminate directly into the body cavity. It has
previously been shown that such traumatic insemination carries costs for females, and sexual conflict
regarding the mode of insemination should thus propel male­female coevolution. Since males accumulate
sexually antagonistic adaptations, females should evolve counter-adaptations that efficiently abate the costs
to females of sexual interactions. Yet, unambiguous experimental evidence for female counter-adaptations
is lacking. In bed bugs, the spermalege (a highly modified region of the abdomen where the male usually
pierces the female) may represent a female counter-adaptation. We assess the female costs of traumatic
insemination by varying the rate of insemination on the one hand, and the rate and mode of piercing
trauma to females on the other. Our results show that female mating costs are not extreme--elevated
mating rate shortened female lifespan but had no significant effect on lifetime egg production. More
importantly, additional abdominal piercing in the spermalege had no effect on females whereas even a


Source: Arnqvist, Göran - Department of Animal Ecology, Uppsala Universitet


Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology