Mating status effects on sexual response of males and females in the parasitoid wasp Urolepis rufipes.
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Although mate preferences are most commonly examined in females, they are often found in both sexes. In the parasitoid wasp Urolepis rufipes, both female and male mating status affected certain aspects of sexual interactions. Female mating status mattered only in the later stages of mating. Males did not discriminate between virgin and mated females in terms of which they contacted or mounted first. However, once mounted, most virgin females were receptive to copulation, whereas very few mated females were. Whether a male’s mating status affected his own sexual response depended on the female’s ability to respond and the stage of mating. Examining male behavior toward dead females allowed elimination of the role of female behavior in how males responded. Virgin and mated males are both attracted to dead females as evidenced by their fanning their wings at such females. However, mated males were quicker than virgin males to contact and to mount in an experiment with dead females, whereas there was no such differential response in an experiment with live females. This difference is consistent with greater female sexual responsiveness to virgin males. Male mating status also affected female receptivity to copulate. Once mounted, live virgin females were less likely to become receptive to copulation by mated males than to virgin males, but only in a choice experiment, not in a no-choice experiment.