oa African Zoology - Mating behaviour and mate choice experiments in some tropical millipedes (Diplopoda: Spirostreptidae)

Volume 28, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1562-7020
  • E-ISSN: 2224-073X



Single and multiple choice mating experiments were conducted using individuals of six species of spirostreptid millipede collected from five separate localities in Zimbabwe. Mating behaviour and copulation duration were recorded. In three of the species between-population comparisons were made. The most common copulatory behaviour was highly physical with the male coiled tightly around the female. In one species (Calostreptus sp.) the sexes copulated in parallel with no overt physical manoeuvring by the male. This species also had the shortest copulation duration. In single choice experiments random mating was assumed when mating frequency was independent of male body mass. This occurred in both populations of Calostreptus sp., Spinotarsus sp. 1 and one of the populations of Alloporus uncinatus. In four cases there was a significant positive relationship between mating frequency and body mass. Only three populations mated randomly in the multiple choice experiments. In two populations mating was random in single choice and non-random in multiple choice experiments and the reverse occurred in one population of Odontopyge sp. 3. The implications of these results are discussed in relation to processes of male-male competition and female choice.

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